Once upon a time, My Broha and I went on a drive. This drive took us to Zweck’s Family Farm, a little organic outfit off Airport Road. They featured a veritable bounty of fresh veg and such; sunflowers, purple peppers, corn, green beans, zuccs, it just went on and on. But my Broha saw two lovely eggplants and screamed, “Oh, Meg! I’ll make Parmesan!”
Heck yes, Broskie. You will. Because Eggplant Parm is ALWAYS a good instinct to follow. Even when it’s 103 degrees outside. Let’s do this.
2 medium globe Eggplants.
1 jar of favorite pasta sauce (or homemade should you be so overachieving)
1 bunch basil
1 Large FRESH mozzarella ball (torn with your fingers into pieces)
2 cups Italian breadcrumbs
2 eggs beaten
½ c. Pecorino Romano (shredded)
Olive oil (for frying)
Fill a deep frying pan (or wok) 1/3 way up with Olive Oil. Don’t be weirded out by using this much oil. The eggplant isn’t going to absorb it. *In fact: the more Oil you use, the longer it can hold a steady temperature, even after you drop your food in. This prevents the oil from cooling down which cooks the food faster, which means less oily food. Kapeesh?
Heat Olive Oil slowly on Medium heat.
Peel Eggplant using a veggie peeler. Easy? Yes.
Slice thinly lengthwise (about ¼ inch thickness).
REAL DEAL – Eggplants hold A LOT of water. This is bad when we are trying to create a lovely layered nibbly with a thick sauce. To prevent the ol’ “Parm Run”, one would typically begin the “dehydrating” process after this step. Layer the eggplant in a colander with kosher salt. Let it sit for half an hour. After, brush off the salt using a dry towel. DO NOT RINSE. As this would definitely undo all you just did. Which is Bad news.
Cool Story– My Broha cooked this on the Grill. Yes. I’ll say that again. You can cook eggplant parm ON. YOUR. GRILL. Grills are just ovens out of doors. This is neat for multiple reasons-we got to SKIP the dehydrating step. And we didn’t have to heat up the house at all. Which was Totes awesome.
So now we dredge. The beaten eggs should be in a shallow dish or a bowl that can accommodate the eggplant slices. The breadcrumbs should be spread around in a similar apparatus. See where this is going?
Dip Eggplant in egg wash. I always think it is fun to put foods with similar names together. Like a weird blind date. “It’s your destiny!” I tell them. I talk to vegetables. So, what.
Back on track—Go ahead and dunk the little guys in the breadcrumbs and gently place into the hot oil. Cook until Brown. This is just to get some crunch and color. The eggplant will really COOK in the sauce in your (displaced) oven.
In a 9x 13 Glass baking dish, put a little sauce on the bottom. Then a single layer of eggplant. Then more sauce. Then put a nice layer or mozzarella. (note: You don’t have to cover every inch. That’s crazy. Just enough to get proper coverage.) Sprinkle a little Romano over that. Then put some basil on that bad boy. Awesome.
Do this again. And again. Until the dish is full or you run out of stuff. Don’t feel a pressure to make it perfect. It’s gonna be yum-tastic no matter. But Do follow the instinct to embellish. More often then not you make good choices. Because you know what you like. For instance, want a little wine in the sauce? Ok. Red pepper flakes and bay leaf? Boo-ya! See? You killed it. Promise.
Now for the “grill cooking”. Preheat your grill. This means BOTH BURNERS. Full blast. Heat the hell outta that sucker. When it is good and hot. Turn off ONE side and put the Parm on top . Leave the other on high. Just to be clear. Don’t have direct heat on your glass baking dish. It will not end in good eats.
Be sure to leave the Parm uncovered, as the moisture from the eggplant will evaporate and keep it steamy and delicious. Cook for about 35-40 minutes. All grills are different. So there is no harm in checking every once in a while after the first 30 minutes.
Just remember the grill is like an oven and every time you open it all the heat escapes thus making the Parm take LONGER to cook. This is not something I can personally handle when I’m hungry. I choose death first.
Anyway, this was delicious. We served with a salad courtesy of my mama’s garden and some tasty Santa Marina wine, courtesy of me J
p.s. follow it up with some homemade hot fudge and Peach ice cream. just sayin.