This is one of my Poppop's specialities. It's not actually his recipe, but it's his basic technique. And it is hearty and delicious and vegetarian. I bought the eggplant at the farmer's market, which I walked to yesterday morning. So I ate low on the food chain today, bought local AND conserved gas. My middle class, urban guilt is somewhat assuaged.
I made this in two smaller casseroles so that I could save some for another meal, but you can put it all in one large baking dish. Once it is all assembled, you can store it in the freezer, probably for a month or so. Just defrost it in the refrigerator before baking.
Eggplant Parmesan a la Poppop
1 super big eggplant, or 2 medium eggplants
3-4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs (breadcrumb+2 tbs. dried basil+2 tbs. dried parsley+ 1 tsp. salt)
2 cups grated parmesan or romano, divided
1 batch garlic sauce or your favorite sauce
4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
-Wash eggplant and cut into 1/4 inch thick pieces. (I do circles.)
-Mix breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Scramble the eggs.
-Dredge the eggplant in eggs then breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet.
-Bake the eggplant for 35 minutes, flipping halfway through. Eggplant is done when it is golden brown, but soft in the center. Remove from oven.
-Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees.
-To assemble, start with a thin layer of sauce. Add a layer of eggplant, overlapping slightly on the edges. Then a layer of cheese (both mozzarella and parmesan). Then sauce. Repeat. For the last layer, stop at the cheese step. (There will be leftover sauce.)
-Cover with aluminum foil and place in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes covered. Uncover for last 15 minutes. (For my small casseroles, I do 30 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered.)
-Serve with leftover sauce.