After I made this recipe for eggplant parmigiana I realized that there was actually no parmigiana to speak of in the recipe. In fact, the dish is often misconstrued to be from Parma, a city in Northern Italy, when it’s really Southern.
I’ve never been to Italy, but I imagine that the origins of a lot of food we often consider Italian is not authentic. I suspect that pizza in Italy looks nothing like my Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza or my perfect Friday Night Spinach & Ricotta Pizza.
That’s one reason that I didn’t feel bad making a non-traditional eggplant parmigiana. Baked, not fried, these eggplant slices aren’t coated in breadcrumbs but rather sprinked with them prior to baking. You can enjoy a crispy texture for fewer calories without sacrificing taste. I’m sure no one in Parma (or elsewhere) will ever know the difference.
1 (1-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce (you could use my weeknight tomato sauce or your favorite store-bought sauce)
6 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
3/4 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella cheese
1. Set the eggplant in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with the salt, cover with more paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets and an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until tender, 15-20 minutes.
3. Spread one-fourth of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Top with some of the eggplant slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle with one-third of the bread crumbs, one-fourth of the cheese and another one-fourth of the sauce. Repeat the layers, finishing with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake until heated through and bubbling, 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake until the top is slightly crisp, about 15 minutes longer. Serve hot or warm.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, head over to The Perfect Pantry, where I’m guest posting for Lydia while she’s on vacation in Brazil.