I think that the first time I ever made eggplant parmigiana was in 1979. Back then, it was the "typical pizza parlor" dish with eggplant fried in vegetable oil and then covered with that Polly-O mozzarella cheese "stuff" that was wrapped in plastic and tasted as such, dusted with Parmigiano "cheese" that had the consistency of baby powder from a can that looked (and tasted) like something you would dust on your feet after a work-out and shower. The sauce was....well, it was.
Oh, how times have changed, and changed, and changed again.
As I look back, I realize that was a long, long time ago. Since then, I've explored and made cuisines from all over the world. But getting back on track and a blast from the past and recent past and more recently, I made eggplant parmigiana. Yes, I made eggplant parmigiana. Not a typo. I think the first time I made this recipe was during a major snowstorm in early 2010. And that was the first time I made eggplant parmigiana since 1979. And I liked it. Probably because it's not the typical fried eggplant smothered in plastic and/or powdered cheese. The eggplant is baked instead of fried. I use low-fat mozzarella cheese and panko in lieu of bread crumbs.
I adapted this recipe from Mario Batali's cookbook, Molto Italiano, 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home.http://www.amazon.com/Molto-Italiano-Simple-Italian-Recipes/dp/0060734922/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335705532&sr=1-1
So, about a week ago, after purchasing a beautiful white eggplant, I decided to revisit the recipe and make a "white and purple" eggplant parmigiana. No plastic or baby powder in this one. It was very good, tasty and light.
PURPLE AND WHITE EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA--BAKED--NOT FRIED4 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
1 white eggplant, about 1 pound
1 purple eggplant, about 1 pound
Salt and pepper
2 cups marinara sauce, preferably home-made (another recipe)
1/2 pound fresh low-fat mozzarella, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup panko
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Slice each eggplant into 6 pieces about 1 inch thick. Brush eggplant with olive oil and lightly season each disk with salt and pepper and place on the oiled sheet. Bake the eggplant at 450 degrees until the slices begin turning deep brown, about 12 minutes. Turn eggplant over and brush with more olive oil, as necessary. Remove the eggplants from the oven and let cool. Eggplant could rest for a while at this point, until ready to handle.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. In an 8 by 12-inch pan, place the 4 largest eggplant slice evenly spaced apart. Over each slice, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce and the 2 cheeses. Repeat, layering again until all the ingredients are used. Sprinkle the panko over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese is melts and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.