stackable, stage-worthy Eggplant Parmesan
I got a racing ticket the other day, on my way to dropping the kids off at school. I was whizzing by at a whopping 31 mph. Granted, it was a school zone and I was supposed to be going 20 mph. When was the last time you drove 20 mph?
Now that I have been ticketed, I am painfully careful to drive that paltry 20 mph whenever the school zone lights are flashing. Mind you, this is on an arterial where people are usually clipping comfortably at 40 mph. So when driving my kids to school, and slowing to 20 I have this nagging urge to chirp the JAWS music. You know, when the shark is slowly creeping up to its prey, softly and slowly, and that disturbing music begins on cue? Da-dum, da-dum, da-dum. At 20 mph, any shark could catch me. Heck, even I could catch me.
Go drive 20 mph somewhere where you normally drive 40 mph and you will feel my pain. I know, [it is of course] for the safety of the kids. My 30 mph was normal compared to a lot of the backup-illegal-reversal-loopy-we're late! driving done by a lot of moms and dads out there (who me?). But in my pursuit of improving, I have taken on creepy, yet slow, shark-like behavior. Go figure.
Oh yeah, this is supposed to be about food. So, my son's teacher (that is school related, see I was going somewhere with the whole speeding racing ticket thing) had a birthday; my friend and I signed up to deliver him a special lunch. My part was soup, dip and plant. Sounds like stop, drop and roll. I am thick into digressing today... here, this is more official:
Teacher Birthday Lunch Special Soda (sparkling something or other. Oh, but if you have the chance try these new dry sodas, you should: rhubarb)* Mini baguette with dipping sauce ('dip') Small container of mixed olives Eggplant Parmesan (that is the 'plant') Fennel Pear Soup ('soup')
Eggplant Parmesan 2 medium eggplants (cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds) 4 tsp salt Red Sauce (buy 6-8 roma tomatoes, some tomato paste, garlic and click for recipe) 1 cup flour 4 large eggs 2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan 1 1/2 tsp Italian herbs 1 LB 1/3 inch sliced, fresh mozzarella (I was lucky: I found fresh mozzarella medallions, so I had mozzarella sans the slicing)
Toss eggplant with 2 tsp salt, let drain in colander over sink for 30 minutes. Make red sauce (click on link, above). Oven to 375; take out 3 bowls. In the first stir together flour with salt and pepper; in the second, whisk eggs and in the third, stir together crumbs and 1/3 cup Parmesan. For each eggplant sice: dip in flour, shake off excess, dip in eggs, shake of excess, dip in bread crumbs. Heat 3 T olive oil in skillet on medium high. Just when the oil shimmers (before is smokes), sautee four egglplant slices, a minute and a half per side. Place on paper towels to drain. Repeat, adding another 2 T per batch of slices. When finished, stack eggplants: put scant 1 T tomato sauce in a circle where you plan to place eggplant layer (4 circles in dish). Then layer: eggplant slice, [2 T] red sauce, mozzarella [to cover], eggplant, red sauce, mozzarella and then a sprinkling of Parmesan. Bake 35 minutes.