2 lbs. eggplants cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
1 tbls. Kosher salt (important to use large grain salt so excess can be wiped away)
8 slices high-quality white bread, torn in large pieces
I cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 or 4 large eggs
6 tbls. vegetable oil
3 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 tbls. olive oil
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces mozzarella shredded (about 2 cups but I always use more)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1/2 cup)
More Basil for garnish
For the eggplant: Toss the eggplant slices in the salt, place in colander and let drain for about 45 minutes. Spread slices on a tea towel or paper towels, cover with another towel and press firmly to extract as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.
While eggplant is draining, set oven to 425, put in two large cookie sheets, and pulse the bread in the food processor. Transfer the crumbs (you’ll need about 2 ½ cups) to a large flat dish and stir in the cheese, ¼ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.
Combine the flour and 1 tsp. pepper in a large plastic bag, shake to combine. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Working in batches, shake the eggplant slices in the flour, dip in the egg, and dredge in the breadcrumbs. Take the hot cookie sheets out of the oven, add 3 tbls. oil to each one and make sure it coats the entire sheet. Place the prepared eggplant slices on the hot cookie sheets and bake at 425 for 30 minutes, switching trays around and flipping the slices during the cooking. Should be crispy, not soggy. When done, remove from oven, but leave it on.
For the sauce: Process two of the cans of tomatoes in the food processor until almost smooth, about 5 seconds. Heat the olive oil, garlic and red pepper in a large saucepan until fragrant and stir in the processed tomatoes and the remaining I can diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to cook until slightly thickened and reduced to about 4 cups. (I think a splash of red wine would not go amiss here) Stir in lots of basil and season to taste.
Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of large gratin dish, layer in half of the eggplant slices, overlapping them to fit, distribute 1 more cup of the sauce over the eggplant, sprinkle with half the mozzarella,. Layer the remaining eggplant and add the rest of the sauce, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and browned about 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, sprinkle with more basil and enjoy!
MOVIE CLUB ROASTED VEGGIES
- Potatoes (only 1 or 2 small ones)
- Whatever winter type veggies you have
- 1 C cooked garbanzo beans
- ¼ C raw cashews
- 1/8 C balsamic vinegar
- ¼ C olive oil
- 1/8 C pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp dried basil + some salt
Preheat oven to 375F.
- Prepare large (11×14?) baking pan with either oil or vegetable spray.
- Chop the veggies into 1” cubes and combine with garbanzo beans in large bowl.
- Wisk dressing ingredients together and pour over veggie/bean mixture – toss well.
- Spread veggies into baking pan and bake 30- minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
- Add raw cashews, stir and bake until veggies are soft.
- Can crank the oven up to 450F for the last 10 minutes to brown mixture.