Crack the secret of making a classic eggplant dish with less fat

Detroit Free PressNovember 20, 2012 

FOOD EGGPLANT DE

When cooked just right, eggplant has a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth healthy flavor. Pictured: Eggplant Parmigiana Medallions.

REGINA H. BOONE — MCT

  • Eggplant Parmigiana Medallions You can make this eggplant dish using as many slices of eggplant as you like. Adapted from “Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home” by Mario Batali (HarperCollins). 2 eggplants (about 1 pound each), washed Kosher salt 1/4 cup olive oil Freshly ground black pepper 2 1/2 to 3 cups favorite tomato-based pasta sauce with basil Fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade, optional 6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 12 slices 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs SLICE off the stem end and bottom end of the eggplant. Using a serrated knife, slice each eggplant into 6 even slices – about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle each slice with salt. Let it set 30 minutes. Rinse the slices thoroughly and pat them dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper. HEAT oven to 400 degrees. Pour the olive oil on a sided baking sheet and place it in the oven while the oven preheats. Once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the baking sheet and place the eggplant slices on it. BAKE about 12-15 minutes. Turn the slices over when they are nicely brown, after about 6-8 minutes. Bake the slices until they are just tender, but firm enough to hold their shape. Transfer to a platter. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. ARRANGE six of the largest eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce over each slice, and, if using, sprinkle with a few shreds of basil. Top with 1 slice of the mozzarella and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons Parmesan. Top with 6 more slices of eggplant and repeat the layering. SPRINKLE toasted bread crumbs over the top. BAKE, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and tops are lightly browned. Serve the eggplant medallions hot, warm or at room temperature. Yield: 6 servings PER MEDALLION: 284 calories (55 percent from fat), 18 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 20 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 750 mg sodium, 14 mg cholesterol, 8 grams fiber.

A few weeks ago, a co-worker stopped by my desk and asked, “Could you use any eggplants?”

She had plenty in her garden and didn’t want them to go to waste. With my new stash of eggplant, I opted to try a different take on the traditional eggplant Parmesan.

With this recipe, the eggplant slices are not pan-fried, but fried in the oven. It’s a neat technique when roasting any kind of vegetables: Drizzle oil on the baking sheet and place in the oven while the oven preheats. The oil gets hot and the vegetables sizzle immediately when you place them on the baking sheet.

There are many varieties, shapes and sizes of eggplant. The large globe or pear-shaped eggplants with green cap-like stems are most common. Baby or Italian eggplants are smaller versions.

Choose eggplants with a smooth shiny skin that shows no signs of deterioration. Store them in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator for longer storage. Try to use eggplant within a few days because as it ages it tends to get bitter.

It’s not necessary to peel eggplant because the skin holds it together during cooking.

To slice eggplant, a serrated knife works best.

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Eggplant Parmigiana Medallions

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