A lighter version of the Eggplant Parmesan: no eggs and no bread crumbs. Eggplants are sliced and grilled in the oven. Then you proceed according to the traditional recipe adding layers of tomato sauce and cheese.Still great flavor but less fat and less work. It will come as no surprise to you that it’s my favorite version of the recipe 🙂
A lighter version of the Eggplant Parmesan: no eggs and no bread crumbs. Eggplants are sliced and grilled in the oven. Then you proceed according to the traditional recipe adding layers of tomato sauce and cheese. Still great flavor but less fat and less work :)
- 8x8 baking dish - 2QT.
- 2 eggplants (or 1 big) -
- 1/2 cup olive oil -
- ½ small onion, chopped -
- 1 clove of garlic -
- 4 cups (32 ounces) tomato sauce -
- fresh basil (6-8 leaves) -
- 1 lb Whole-Milk Mozzarella Cheese in small cubes -
- 2 cups Parmigiano Cheese grated -
- sea coarse salt and ground pepper -
- Wash eggplant, cut off the ends and slice vertically into thin (6 mm, ¼ in) slices. Arrange one layer of slices in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle with kosher salt. Repeat this procedure until all the eggplant slices are in the colander. Weigh down the slices with something heavy, (a bottle, 3 plates, a full teapot) and let them drain for at least one hour. This step helps release some of the bitterness. NOTE: If you want to skip this step please do, I think most eggplants are so "domesticated" now that have no bitterness.
- In the meantime: preheat the oven to 425°F and prepare the sauce
- In a large sauce pan over a medium-high heat, sauté at low heat/flame the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When onion turns translucent remove garlic, add tomato sauce, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Cook on low/medium heat for 5 minutes. Set aside. I recommend using a dense tomato sauce rather than a liquid one. So if your sauce looks too liquid let it cook uncovered for a few more minutes to dry up. (sorry no pictures of the sauce).
- When eggplant has drained, press down on the slices to remove the excess water, wipe off the excess salt, and dry with paper towels.
- Grease the bottom of an oven pan with olive oil, place the eggplant slices side by side and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 425 for about 5 minutes on each side or till soft but not burnt. Remove from oven.
- In a 8-cup baking pan (8x8), spread a paper-thin layer of tomato sauce. Arrange the eggplant slices side by side, covering the sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Spread some of the tomato sauce (about ⅓) evenly on top of eggplant, some basil leaves, 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese (about ⅓ cup) and some pepper to taste.
- Repeat this process until you have a total of three (or four) layers of eggplant and finish with the remaining tomato sauce and parmesan (no mozzarella on the very top, it would burn)
- Bake covered with aluminum foil for about 30 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese on top and serve.
- This dish is great alone, or added to pasta.