What do you do when you have eggplant growing in your backyard? Well, what else? Make Eggplant Parmesan! I’ve always wanted to make this dish, because I love eggplant, but I had no idea how many components it took to create it! You’ve got the roasted red pepper tomato sauce, the breading and frying of the eggplant, and the pasta! Daniel wasn’t a big fan of eggplant, but after making this, he definitely has a new found respect for it. We only had the Japanese eggplant from our garden, but we were still able to re-create Bobby Flay’s recipe. It’s Throwdown time!
To make the roasted red pepper tomato sauce, start by roasting 3 red bell peppers over the stove. (Yes, from our garden, too!)
In a large pot, cook 1 chopped onion, 3 cloves garlic, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. Then add the roasted red peppers and cook for about a minute.
Next, add 2 cans of plum tomatoes (crushed with your hands), and 1 can of crushed tomatoes. Bring this to a boil until thickened, about 25-30 minutes.
When it's done, transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Return the mixture to the pot and add some parsley, basil and oregano and season with salt and pepper.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick round slices. Season both sides with salt.
Coat each eggplant in some flour, then in the beatened egg mixture, and finally in the Italian breadcrumbs.
Working in batches, fry each eggplant for about 3 minutes per batch until they are golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel to soak excess oil.
Cover the bottom of the a baking sheet or dish with some of the tomato sauce and arrange 1/2 of the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with some of the sauce, grated mozzarella, fontina, Romano cheese (we used Parmesan). Repeat to make 3 layers ending with the sauce. Top with the fresh mozzarella and bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes.
Because we used Japanese eggplant, our eggplant parmesan was more like mini towers - which I thought was fabulous and cute. Paired with the roasted red pepper tomato sauce and pasta, this turned out to be a delicious and satisfying meal, considering there was NO meat. It definitely took a lot of steps to get to this point, but it was worth the effort and we even had a ton of leftovers!
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Eggplant Parmesan