It’s a sunny, but crisp spring day out here. The golfers are out in force, but since it’s a weekday we’re unlikely to witness their favorite game of drunk bumper golf carts. The weather is perfect for this simple vegetarian dish. If you don’t count the cheese, it’s even healthy, since the eggplant is ‘fried’ in the oven – and the panko crumbs are da BOMB – I will never go back to regular bread crumbs. The leftovers also freeze well – as a matter of fact, that’s what I’m having for lunch!
•2 cups Panko crumbs
•2 eggs and a bit of milk
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp lemony pepper
•1/4 tsp Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic – or garlic powder
•1/4 tsp Tastefully Simple Onion Onion – or onion powder
•1/2 tsp parsley flakes
•1/2 tsp basil
•1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne
Preheat oven to 375º.
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Beat eggs slightly, drop crumbs and seasonings into blender jar and blend well. Pour crumbs on plate. Generously grease a large baking pan with shortening, heat pan several minutes in oven, dip eggplant into egg and then into crumbs. Place on hot baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes on one side, turn and bake an additional 15 minutes.
You can use these as is, maybe with a bit of fresh lemon juice, put ‘em in a sandwich, or go ahead and do the whole ‘Parmesan’ bit.
For this part, you almost don’t need a recipe. Place a layer of eggplant in a casserole – one eggplant works really well for us in the 11 inch round baker shown above. I try to fit the different sized rounds together to from a fairly solid base layer. Cover with the tomato sauce of your choice – I think my new favorite red sauce from Lasagna a la Française would be an excellent choice, then top with shredded mozzarella, aged provolone, and parmesan cheese. Repeat until you’ve used up your eggplant or filled your casserole. Top with more cheese and bake at 400º until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. A glass of wine, a loaf of bread and thou – what could be better?