Monday, September 12, 2011

Recipe: Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant is one of those vegetables I have a really hard time getting excited about.  Sure, it’s a pretty color on the outside but the inside ranges from pea green to blah white and it has weird seeds that are kind of slimy. I’m not selling this very well, am I… the reality is that eggplant is not, by itself, very exciting.  However, if you are you one of millions of Americans that are going carb-free or are at least avoiding pastas and other processed carbs for health reasons, eggplant can be your best friend.

Luckily, eggplants grow really well in North Carolina and most markets right now have the common oblong eggplant but you can also get dwarf (small round), snake (long and skinny) or the slightly rarer white varieties as well.  I buy mine from Houston Farms at the Atherton Market and each one I’ve gotten from them has been excellent. 

Since this great vegetable is in season right now, I have been trying to use it in place of heavy carbs for dinner. Below is one example you can make instead of chicken parmesan or lasagna, but you can also cube eggplant and sauté it like potatoes and cover it with alfredo, marinara or olive oil-based for a health alternative. I thawed some tomato sauce I already had from this recipe but you can use store-bought.  Finally, I used pepper jack cheese from Simply Local but you can use any variety you like (I’d suggest mozzarella or a plain jack cheese).

Eggplant Parmesan (v, LPO)
1 medium to large eggplant, sliced in ½ inch horizontal layers
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil for the pan
  1. Using large skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat and lay eggplant slices in pan
  2. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, flipping once, or until brown on both sides
  3. Remove slices and place on oven-safe plates
  4. Cover with tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese 
  5. Heat in oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted

I served my eggplant parm with chilled cucumbers - delicious!

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