When you're looking for comfort food, most people turn to their favourite carb-loaded standby's like potatoes and pasta, or flavourful red meats like a great big steak. Eggplant parmesan is a great alternative comfort food. Eggplant Parmesan is traditionally breaded before it is layered with cheese and baked, but this dish can still be just as satisfying and comforting without the extra flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. I have created my own version of eggplant parmesan that cuts back on some of the fat traditionally in the dish, while still having a bold and delicious flavour.
Tip: Sprinkling salt on top of the eggplant before baking it will allow the vegetables bitter juices to emerge out.
1 eggplant (about 1 Ib/500 g)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 roasted red pepper (julienned)
3/4 italian bread crumbs
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Cut eggplant lengthwise (discarding the ends) into 1/4 inch slices. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet one single layer. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Sprinkle salt over slices and rub in with your fingers.
2. Bake slices 10 minutes on each side.
3. While eggplant is baking, layer 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes.
4. Layer cooked eggplant into dish. Arrange roasted red pepper slices and basil on top of eggplant. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce over eggplant and red peppers. Sprinkle bread crumbs, then Italian seasoning, then mozzarella, then parmesan cheese over tomato sauce.
5. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until sauce is bubbling.