Cheesy Eggplant

I get a bit keyed up over the smell of this eggplant dish baking in the oven.  I made salads for a starter and to keep my impatience at bay from flinging open the oven and prematurely removing the eggplant.  My recipe is similar to an eggplant parmigiana but maybe halfway healthy for you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients:  Eggplant, salt, eggs, wheat germ, oil, tomato/pasta sauce, cheese (I use mozzarella and provolone slices and Parmesan) and optional cooked pasta if you want to serve it on a carbohydrate.

I started with two fat eggplant.  This will be the last of locally grown eggplant for the season.  These big ones looked like they could be a tad bitter so I sliced them into 3/4 inch rounds, placed on paper towels and sprinkled salt on them.  After 15 minutes a lot of liquid rose out and I blotted it off.  If you use young eggplant or skinny long Asian ones, you may not need to take this step.

Next, I got my bowls ready with beaten egg in one and wheat germ in the other.  Wheat Germ is a good source of vitamin E and Folic Acid.  While this recipe may not promote my cardiovascular health, it does wonders for my mood and wheat germ gives it a bit of nutritional boost over bread crumbs. Also, get a casserole dish ready with some tomato sauce covering the bottom.  I used a pasta sauce I had canned but store varieties can be a good time saver.

I heated a skillet with a couple tablespoons of safflower oil.  Olive oil was previously my oil of choice for just about everything but lately I’ve branched out to using safflower as well.  It does well with higher temperatures.  You may read about safflower oil benefits.

When the skillet is hot (med – medium high) dip one round of eggplant in egg, then wheat germ and place in hot pan.  Repeat.  Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes and then set in a baking dish with sauce on the bottom.

I wipe the pan out after each eggplant session.  I ended up with 3 layers of eggplant.  On the first layer I placed pieces of provolone on the eggplant a little sauce and then began the next layer which I covered with mozzarella and a touch more sauce.  The top layer I finished with sauce to cover all nooks and crannies and then grated a fine layer of Parmesan over the it.  I covered the dish with foil and baked at 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and brown for another 5-10 minutes.  I like mine served on a bed of pasta. 

Boucci makes fantastic bread every other weekend.  We freeze most of the loaves and then devour them throughout the ensuing days.  He made me a happy face on this loaf but all you can see left are the eyeballs :).   I hope your meals today give you something to smile about!

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