Eggplant Parmesan is one of those family traditions we just do – There is no such thing called a recipe. All that is involved is making the fried eggplant which as discussed previously is a critical but messy job, placing it in a pan, spreading sauce to cover each piece and placing fresh, whole milk, mozzarella cheese on top. If you start with great fried eggplant, you will make great Eggplant Parmesan, Depending on on your preference, you can sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on prior to cooking or as I prefer after cooking. For sauce we use whatever is in the refrigerator. If it was good enough to serve with pasta it’s good for Eggplant Parmesan.
The tradition method in out family is to layer it in a pan and if the pan is to be frozen we use a disposable aluminum pan. The following photo is a completely frozen pan of Eggplant Parmesan prepared at the same time I fried the eggplant as a side dish which I am saving for my niece at the end of December. Of course in the freezer it is covered with aluminum foil.
When I cook it, I will leave it out on the counter for about an hour or two to defrost and then the covered pan will be placed in the oven at 350 for ½ hour. After that the foil cover will be removed to cook as needed for 15 to 20 more minutes to develop a golden brown cheese on top.
Consideration in cooking meals for one.
When I scale down a recipe for myself, I don’t want excessive leftovers, I want it easy to clean my mess, and I hate to turn on the oven and heat up the kitchen for a single meal for me. These criteria make the fondue pot the ideal choice for this meal. My pot is Teflon coated for ease of cleaning, has a precision temperature control, and is the right size to cook a meal for one.
The steps are almost the same except, as will be shown below, you do not get the golden brown color that my wife shrived for but in my mind you get a fresher tasting melted cheese.
- Place the friend eggplant in the cold electric skillet (fondue pot) and cover with tomato sauce.
- Slice the cheese and place a slice or part of a slice on each piece of eggplant.
- Cover the pot and turn the temperature on the dial to 300 Fahrenheit
- Cook for about 10 minutes until you hear the sauce and melted cheese sizzling in the pan.
- Serve with fresh grated Parmesan.
Since I love eggplant fried and fresh mozzarella, I like this version just as well as the golden brown one and when making meals for one it is just the right amount. Don’t worry, when you come to dinner I’ll put the pan in the oven and make yours that beautiful golden brown but in the meantime I can cook great tasting traditional meals without excessive leftovers.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this great meal is vegetarian.