Give thanks to GimmeSomeOven.com for the recipe which you can find by clicking this lovely link here. This was a blessing because I didn’t have to fool with getting my frying stuff out and getting oil everywhere and flour and it would take me all day to fry each and every individual slice of eggplant, of which I had many because I decided to buy more in case my first batch sucked, and it just saved me tons of time. If you are a purist eggplant parmesan-er you can totally do all of the above and fry each and every one, but I love panko breading when it meets an oven so don’t hate me over this. Although I don’t care if you do because hating me over something so trivial seems odd, but whatever.
Eggplant parmesan purists gonna hate.
Anyway, good news! I salvaged one of the nasty eggplants I had bought too soon and just cut the bad spot out and can still use it. And I did. And all was well.
Before I get too far in this, I just want to say thank you for sticking around the past few weeks. My schedule at work has been different and my days off consist of cooking no matter what. My first day off I’ll cook up everything for you all to look at and me to eat new things. My second day off I spend the day meal prepping for me and Robby. If I don’t I wind up buying stuff at work that I don’t need and he ends up at every fast food joint in town.
If you have never done meal prepping, I highly recommend it. So many people do it to help them stick to a diet, but it is just so easy to have meals already made in the freezer or fridge and you just have to heat up. One of the easier things is just make a big batch of whatever protein you eat and make a huge salad and you can eat on that for days.
Meal prepping is probably for another blog though, we are the eat-new-fruits-and-vegetables blog so let’s talk about that shall we?
Eggplant parmesan feels like it would be an all day event and I’m sure it can be, but the preparation is so simple and everything goes into one pan which makes it beautiful.
You don’t have to peel the eggplant before dipping it in breading, but you can. Opinions on this are all over the place, but I love that texture of chewiness you sometimes get when you leave the skin on.
There is also an option to salt the eggplant before using it. Now, I wasn’t going to take chances with making a dish so large so I went ahead and sprinkled salt on some and soaked the rest in salt water. I couldn’t tell a difference in which tasted better, but I will say soaking the slices in salt water took up less space in my little kitchen. (Ok, medium kitchen, but most of my surfaces are accounted for so not too much working space).
You bake up those slices, then you layer them like a lasagna with sauce and cheese and this recipe called for fresh basil which was nice and it made my kitchen smell absolutely delightful and I just happened to have a basil plant, but I don’t think it is super necessary. Not everyone has access to fresh herbs in terms of time and money so it is never a must in my opinion. Unless you’re making pesto, then it might get weird.
EVERYONE, I NEED YOU TO GET BACK TO ME ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE USED PESTO INSTEAD OF RED SAUCE IN EGGPLANT PARMESAN. I’M CALLING YOU ALL OUT TO FIND OUT FOR ME PLEASE.
The greatest thing about eggplant parmesan is that if you find out you have a few extra baked slices leftover after layering everything into the dish, you can eat them. Don’t get me wrong, you bread anything and it will taste divine, but eggplant has this great texture to it. It reminds me of a cross between a mushroom and dried out tomato because it has so many seeds in it. You don’t notice the seeds are seeds when you eat it because they’re not tough at all, but in terms of having a bunch in your mouth you kind of get a feel for them.
Eggplant taste is pretty delicate and it mostly boils down to texture, but it is such a satisfying texture that you’ll like it just as much as something you like for its taste alone. I feel like we are getting way more recipes and featured dishes based more on texture and mouth feel (ugggh dumb word) than taste. Not that they don’t taste bad, but you want to make it more for how it would feel than you would for the taste. Best example is boba tea which has tapioca pearls in it you can pop in your mouth.
Eggplant parmesan fulfills that same awesome texture desire because you have breaded/fried slices of a mushy vegetable drowned in wet sauce but melted gooey cheese on top and it is just so many different textures to enjoy and you know it is going to taste good because it has all this cheese and fried stuff but it is mainly about the texture.
Now, I want you to know that I did serve this to Robby. This is a man that can look at something he has never eaten or even been in the same room as but will look at it and say, “I don’t like that.” I’m so proud that he has tried what he has so far but it has been a minute and this is something I know he would like. Maybe not favorite thing in the world but still enjoy and maybe even eat again down the road if all other options are awful.
The proof is in the pudding.