Here’s an eggplant parm recipe that won’t leave you feeling heavy and bloated! Not only is the eggplant baked instead of fried, it is coated in almond meal instead of bread crumbs, and paired with spaghetti squash rather than the traditional side of heavy pasta.
I did coat the eggplant in a very thin layer of flour to start the dredging process after reading the Cook’s Illustrated article that tested many combinations and concluded that the 3-step dredge (flour, egg, bread crumb) results in the best texture. However, I’m very tempted to try this again with just the egg and the almond meal since it already has such a nice hearty texture.
Eggplant Parmesan (Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
2 medium sized organic eggplants, cut crosswise into rounds
coarse ground salt
4 cups almond meal
2 c grated pecorino cheese, divided (or parmesan-I personally like the extra saltiness of pecorino in this dish)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 organic, free range eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Tbsp olive oil
16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
Amy’s Traditional Tomato Sauce
2 28oz. can organic roma tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 sweet vidalia or maui onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 basil leaves (I used a pre-frozen basil cube: see previous post)
1 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
The first and crucial step is to sweat the eggplant for a nice tender texture. Arrange the eggplant rounds in a large colander and sprinkle with coarse ground kosher salt (about 1-2 Tbsp). Let sit for 45 minutes. Lay out sheets of paper towels and press out any extra moisture in the eggplant rounds. Set up your dredging station by pouring your flour into a shallow dish (I like to use a pie dish), slightly beating the eggs in a shallow bowl, and combining the almond meal, 1 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and a little all-purpose seasoning in another pie dish.
Preheat your oven along with 3 or 4 large baking sheets at 425 degrees. Next begins the dredging. Lightly coat each round in flour, then cover in a thin layer of egg, and finally cover both sides with the almond meal mixture. Coat the preheated baking sheets with a tablespoon of olive oil and line each sheet with the coated eggplant rounds. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden on each side, flipping the eggplant half way through.
Meanwhile, prepare tomato sauce. Add olive oil to a small saucepan and sweat onions on medium heat, approx. 5-7 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Finally add the crushed red pepper and fresh basil leaves (or basil cube).