So I suggested that we skip the breading altogether, and just sear the eggplant quickly in a hot pan, layer with cheese and sauce, and, if crunch is really wanted, add some gluten-free bread crumbs on top. I threw on a few basil leaves for garnish and flavor.
We both loved the result, plus, it was so much quicker and simpler than all that dipping - in egg and then bread crumbs. And, if you look at the nutritional information, so much healthier, too.
Sally: I think I'd call this more Eggplant Pizza than Eggplant Parm! After searing the eggplant in the cast-iron skillet, I just layered some marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on top. I was truly shocked at how delicious this was.
To be honest, when my mom first suggested it, I thought it was going to be pretty bland and boring. Yet it really was delicious! (I am getting a little bit sick of my mom always being right...)
It took all of about 45 minutes to prepare. I picked up another eggplant at the grocery store on Saturday and made this again Sunday! And it was just as good the second time.
Makes 4 servings
2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce, homemade or in a jar
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin rounds
Fresh basil leaves, optional
1/4 cup bread crumbs, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until smoking hot.
3. Place as many eggplant slices in the hot pan as will fit without crowding. Sear the eggplant for about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant slices.
4. Meanwhile, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a medium casserole pan.
5. Lay the eggplant slices on top of the sauce as you remove them from the stove, and lay a slice of cheese on top of each round. Top with more sauce.
6. Continue layering eggplant, cheese, and sauce.
7. Finish with a layer of cheese, and top with bread crumbs, if desired.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through, with the cheese melted on top.
- From Maureen Fitzgerald
Per serving: 326 calories, 16 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams sugar, 21 grams fat, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 950 milligrams sodium, 10 grams dietary fiber.
Contact food editor Maureen Fitzgerald at 215-854-5744, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @mydaughterskit on Twitter. Read her blog, "My Daughter's Kitchen," at www.philly.com/mydaughter.