Meatless Fridays# 3 – Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti and Marinara Sauce
As a kid I hated vegetable. They would just make me gag. Of course it didn’t help that the vegetables my elders were trying to feed me were either canned or frozen. I remember many a night ending in a battle of wills. I was told I couldn’t leave the table until I ate my veggies and my response was just as forceful “I can sit here longer than you can!”. To my folks dismay in almost every case my stubbornness would win out. Now it wasn’t that I wouldn’t try vegetables, I would, but in those days the vegetables that were frozen just weren’t very good and the canned ones weren’t much better. This, unfortunately, was all anyone would eat. Technology was king and we were conned into thinking that frozen (and canned) was as good as fresh. This was far from the truth. It was only years later, after I began cooking, that I learned that vegetables could be tasty. The difference was that they needed to be fresh and prepared properly!
For my third meatless Friday I decided to make Eggplant Parmesan. This is something I used to order in the Italian restaurants in New Jersey as a teen and always enjoyed the “meaty” texture of the Eggplant. Now I have seen eggplant parmesan prepared as a casserole but that never really appealed to me. I prefer my Eggplant Parmesan breaded and fried. The crunchy texture, along with the Marinara sauce and Mozzarella cheese melted on top just sings to me.To go along with my Eggplant parmesan I decided to whip up some home made spaghetti noodles and serve them with the same Marinara sauce that topped my Eggplant.
1 medium Eggplant peeled and slice into rounds
1 cup flour
1 egg + 1/2 cup milk
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
Marinara Sauce (recipe follows)
Using what is called “Standard Breading Procedure” bread your Eggplant by dredging it first in the flour, then in the egg and milk mixture and finally in the breadcrumb. It is important to make sure your hand is dry when dredging the eggplant in the breadcrumb or you risk the breading coming off due to wet hands.
Fry your eggplant in vegetable oil until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep warm in the oven until all the Eggplant has been fried.
To assemble top a fried Eggplant round with a dollop of marinara sauce and some shredded Mozzarella cheese. Place another round on top and repeat until you have 3 layers. Place in a hot oven until the cheese has melted and the Eggplant is hot throughout.
This is the most simple but most delicious Marinara Sauce you will ever make!
1 can ground tomato (28 oz)
1 table spoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Place the first 5 ingredients into a sauce pan and simmer (low) for 45 minutes.
Add some fresh basil. I don’t chop or tear it. I just throw it in stem and all ( I pick them out later). The basil will steep in and flavor your sauce like you couldn’t imagine. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more.
Pick out the basil and give your sauce a squeeze of lemon. Your done!
I will offer the fresh pasta recipe in a separate post.