I know that a lot of people cringe when they hear the word eggplant but I am hear to tell you that it can be very good. This past weekend I decided that it had been way to long since I had eaten eggplant and that I wanted to come up with a new recipe for you all to enjoy. So with that mindset I went to work brainstorming ideas and came up with one for my very own version of Eggplant Parmesan. Before you go any further I will tell you that this is not your traditional recipe for this dish, but that is after all what I do. I try and come up with new ways to look at making food so that the average person that wouldn’t normally like something like Eggplant Parmesan may actually give this a try. This is also something that long time lovers of eggplant are sure to love as well. It’s a really a good meal that I think most people will like and for you parents out there with picky kids, just go ahead and make it and don’t tell them what it is. I bet they will like it.
So here is what you need.
1 Large eggplant
1 large white onion
1 red bell pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup)
all purpose flour (about 2 cups)
non stick cooking spray
mozzarella cheese (3 cups)
grated parmesan cheese (2 cups)
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce ( I used RAO’s marinara)
sliced pepperoni (about 15 slices)
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Prep and cooking:
It would be good to go ahead and get every thing that you need cut up and prepped before you start cooking, since there are a few steps involved in making this dish.
Start by removing the skin from the eggplant (this is optional), and then cut the eggplant into slices about a quarter inch thick and then lay them out on paper towels to soak up the excess moisture. Eggplants are a pretty wet vegetable and soaking up some of the water helps with the cooking process.
Cut the onion and red bell pepper into nice thin strips and set aside. You can also chop the garlic and add it to the onion and pepper since they are all getting cooked at the same time.
Put your flour in a bowl large enough to fit the eggplant slices and set near the stove.
Now you are ready to start cooking. Add the olive oil to a large skillet (frying pan) and heat to medium high heat. Take the eggplant and piece by piece cover in a thin layer of flour and then add to the frying pan. You want to brown the eggplant slices on both sides, adding salt and pepper during the process. Once they are browned on both sides remove to a paper towel covered plate to drain the excess oil.
When you have all of the eggplant cooked add the onion, peppers, and garlic to the pan and cook until the onions start to turn clear. Once those are done remove to a paper towel covered plate to drain excess oil.
Now you are ready to assemble this concoction and bake it. Go ahead and preheat an oven to 375/400 degrees.
In an oven safe casserole dish you will want to spray with non stick spray and then put down a thin coating of your marinara sauce. Now you will need to put down a layer of eggplant making sure that all of the sides are touching and that it covers the entire bottom of the container. If you have slices left over that is fine, you can just overlap them making a second layer. Just be sure to space them out evenly. Now using about half of the mozzarella cover the eggplant and then cover that with about half of the remaining sauce. Now lay out the onions and peppers across the top in an even layer and cover that with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and then cover it with the rest of the sauce. Now cover the top with the parmesan cheese and a thin layer of bread crumbs and then add the pepperoni in a nice even layer to the top of that.
Now stick this in the oven uncovered and bake until the cheese is melted and the pepperoni starts to crisp up (about 20 minutes). Once it is done, remove it and let it cool a little before serving. Then cut yourself a nice big piece and enjoy.
Thanks for reading