Eggplant seems to be such a misunderstood little vegetable, especially in the south. I get so many questions about what to do with it. I sometimes wonder how much eggplant is actually sold in the produce departments of groceries? Why do I spend time wondering about such things? Who knows, it's just one of the weird things I think about...lol. My favorite way to cook eggplant is to make eggplant Parmesan or to slice it lengthwise very thin and use it for the 'pasta' in a vegetarian lasagna. This is a really easy recipe for eggplant Parmesan and it's a great vegetarian meal...bet you thought you would never see me write that...or for those 'meatless Monday' meals people keep talking about. I can have this eggplant Parmesan, a salad and bread and never even miss the meat. Cooked correctly, eggplant is a viable meat substitute in some dishes, not nutritionally, but at least aesthetically.
Here is what you will need for this:
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/4" slices (make sure it's still fairly firm)
2 Tbs. milk
2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
3 cups Mozzarella cheese
2 24oz. jars pasta sauce or marinara sauce
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 Tbs. sugar
Whisk eggs and milk together in a shallow dish.
Mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan in another shallow dish.
Dip eggplant slices in egg wash and then in bread crumbs. Place on a cookie sheet (might take 2) that is lined with foil and sprayed liberally with nonstick spray for coated with olive oil. I use nonstick Reynolds Wrap which is one of the best things ever. You have to try it!
Place in a 400 degree oven and cook on one side for 20 minutes. Turn them over and cook for another 20 minutes.
Mix pasta sauce with sugar and dried seasonings. Sprinkle eggplant with a little salt and pepper. Place 2 cups sauce in the bottom of a long dish. Place a layer of eggplant slices over the sauce. Pour another 2 cups of sauce over the slices. Sprinkle with half of the Mozzarella cheese and half of the rest of the Parmesan cheese. Lay another layer of eggplant on top of this. Cover with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with the rest of the mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheeses are just browned slightly.
Allow to stand for about 5-10 minutes and serve over a bed of pasta.