Once you learn how to bake bread, there are numerous ways you can incorporate it into delicious, home-cooked meals. Eggplant parmesan is a fantastic and filling dinner option that makes great use of homemade bread crumbs. Here is a basic eggplant parmesan recipe courtesy of Epicurious.com:
- 2 1/2 pounds medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
- 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 5 pounds plum tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs
- 3 1/2 cups bread crumbs
- 2 ounces finely grated parmesan cheese (2/3 cup)
- 1 pound chilled, salted fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Set a colander over a large bowl, and toss the eggplant with 2 teaspoons of salt. Allow 30 minutes to drain.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut an X in each tomato and blanch them together in a large pot of boiling water for one minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a large cutting board. Once cooled, peel off the skin with the paring knife.
Chop the tomatoes before pureeing them in a blender in batches. In a heavy, 5-quart pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until golden, which should take approximately 30 seconds. Add the tomato puree, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, red pepper flakes and basil. Simmer in the pot uncovered until the sauce thickens, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit with the rack in middle position.
In a shallow bowl, stir together flour with the remaining salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In a third shallow bowl, stir together bread crumbs and parmesan.
Dip each slice of eggplant in all three bowls, first dredging in the flour, then dipping in the egg, and finally coating with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Place finished eggplants on a sheet lined with wax paper in a single layer.
Heat the remaining oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry four slices of eggplant per batch, only flipping each slice once until the outside is golden brown. This should take about five to six minutes. After, place the eggplant on a paper towel to drain.
In a rectangular baking dish, spread one cup of the tomato sauce. Build a layer of eggplant slices, about one-third of the total. Cover the eggplant in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Continue this layering process until all the eggplant is used up. Add remaining parmesan on top.
Bake, uncovered, for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Tip: If red pepper flakes make the sauce too spicy for you, consider adding a pinch of sugar, as is done in this sauce recipe by Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli.