I am so glad you stopped by. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I've been converting my Italian family's recipes to gluten free. My family and friends can't tell the difference! I also create my own delicious recipes. I will be posting new recipes weekly which will range from traditional comfort foods to gourmet dishes. Not all of the recipes will be Italian, but they all will be delicious! In addition, you will find helpful tips for gluten free living, related links and product recommendations. I welcome any specific requests for recipes. If I don't have it, I will find it! You can email me directly. A link to my email is located in my profile. . . simply click on the tab to view my full Enjoy the site!
Monday, January 25, 2010
This is a wonderful Italian comfort food. I will start by saying that I make my Eggplant Parmigiano "lasagna style" because my husband prefers this method. His family was from southern Italy. My family was from central Italy and preferred to have the Eggplant on a plate in a single layer with sauce and cheese melted over the top. Whichever way you prefer, this recipe will work. Simply layer the Eggplant if you would like to try lasagna style or, if not, forego that step and layout your fried eggplant in a single layer with the sauce and cheese.
Another variation for this dish is whether to leave the skin on the eggplant or whether to peel it off. I prefer it peeled. I find the skin bitter and tough. However, some people like the bitter taste and choose to leave it on. My recipe calls for the Eggplant to be peeled. However, skip that step is you prefer to leave the skin on.
The next decision for you to make is how thin should the eggplant be cut? In Italy, the more southern regions prefer a thicker cut. The more central regions prefer a thinner cut (about 1/4 inch thick). This is a matter of preference and the thickness you choose does not alter the recipe. For a single layer Eggplant Parmigiano, I prefer to slice the Eggplant on the round. However, for Lasagna style it works better to slice the eggplant long. Again, this is your choice as the recipe is not altered by this decision.
In order to achieve the perfect result, the Eggplant must be prepared correctly, you must use a good homemade Italian Tomato Sauce. Do not substitute a bottled pre-made sauce. Additionally, the cheese should be of very good quality and used liberally.
4 Medium Eggplant
4 Cups Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
4 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill brand)
4 Cups Shaved Mozzerella cheese
1 Cup of Grated Parmigiano Cheese
3 Quarts of cooked Tomato Sauce
1/2 Cup of Vegetable oil for frying Eggplant
Salt for rinsing Eggplant (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 Tspn. Pepper
Make sure your tomato sauce is thoroughly cooked and heated. Reduce to simmer and reserve for later use.
Prepare Eggplant: Cut off the stem of the eggplant and the opposite end (just enough to remove the dimple). Peel the skin off using a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices (either on the round or lengthwise). For Lasagna style (stacked) Eggplant Parmigiano, slice the Eggplant lengthwise. Exposed flesh of the Eggplant discolors quickly so transfer the slices to a bowl of salted cold water. Place a plate or two over the Eggplant in the salted water to press down the Eggplant. Let the Eggplant soak until the water turns lightly brown. This will remove any bitterness from the Eggplant. (Usually soaking the Eggplant for 30 minutes will be sufficient for this dish.) Drain and rinse the salt off the Eggplant and layer the Eggplant in a single layer onto papertowels. Cover each layer of Eggplant with a paper towel and permit the Eggplant to dry off for 30 minutes.
Pour the flour, seasoned bread crumbs and eggs into three separate dishes (I like using large pie baking dishes). Make sure to whisk the eggs to incorporate the yokes and whites. Add salt and pepper to the eggs. I usually add about 1 tspn. of each. Heat vegetable oil over medium high flame. (Vegetable oil is preferred over olive oil because the vegetable oil has a higher smoking point and will splatter less.) Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the Eggplant. Otherwise, the breading will come off or be on the oily side. (Once you see small surface bubbles in the oil, you can commence frying the breaded eggplant.)
While waiting for the oil to come up to termperature, begin breading your Eggplant. Press each slice of Eggplant into the flour and coat both sides of each slice. Remove from flour and dip into the egg until thoroughly coated. Remove from egg and coat each slice on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs.
Transfer the breaded slices of Eggplant to the hot oil and fry until lightly golden brown on each side. Remove from oil and place onto paper towel lined baking sheets in a single layer to allow excess oil to be removed from fried Eggplant. I usually change the papertowels after each batch. Allow to drain for ten minutes while breading and frying the next batch.
Coat the bottom of the lasagna casserole with the cooked tomato sauce. Layer the Eggplant on the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly to permit full coverage. Ladle more sauce over the top of the eggplant and sprinkle the layer with parmigiano and mozzerella cheese. (More or less cheese can be used depending on your preference). Continue layering the Eggplant in this manner until the casserole is full. The top layer will be cheese.
Transfer the Eggplant to a preheated 350 degree oven and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil from the pan and allow to bake uncovered until the top layer of cheese is lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let pan stand for approximately 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving. Additional sauce can be ladled onto each serving.
Gluten Free Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
I usually will make my own gluten free bread crumbs by running a loaf of brown rice bread in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried basil and dried oregano. You can also mix these ingredients into packaged gluten free bread crumbs. Per two cups of bread crumbs I add 1 Tspn. salt, 1 Tspn. pepper, 1/2 tspn. garlic, 2 Tblspn. dried Parsley, 1 Tblspn. dried Basil, 1 Tspn. dried Oregano.
Serves 8, but will serve more if the Eggplant Parmigiano is accompanied with a side of pasta.