Saturday, January 8, 2011
It's no secret that my favorite dish is eggplant parm. The thought of it makes my mouth water. It is also a dish that I usually only make when I have to cook for more than just a few people, since you get quite a bit out of just one eggplant. It's also no secret that watching The Jersey Shore is one of my guilty pleasures. I just can't help it. With that being said, Jody and I have been anxiously awaiting the premiere of season 3 and decided to have a little dinner party in honor of it. So I invited a few friends over and made two large dishes of eggplant parm and it was a pretty big hit :) I also picked up some mini cannoli shells and made chocolate chip cannoli for dessert. We had quite the situation on hand.
Now I do believe that the best way to enjoy eggplant parm is to bread it and fry it. It may not exactly be the healthiest, but it's all about moderation anyways. So I hand breaded my eggplant and pan fried it in olive oil. I made a small batch of sauce and completed the parmigiana with a mixture of mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, and asiago cheeses. Crispy eggplant, tangy sauce, and gooey cheese....is there a more perfect combination of ingredients? I didn't think so. I don't measure much with this recipe, so I sort of guesstimated the amounts of seasonings. I think it's really all up to you, if you want more garlic, less garlic, more pepper, etc. Don't be afraid to forget about your measuring spoons!
1 large eggplant, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups bread crumbs
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 c milk
Mix bread crumbs with seasonings and beat eggs with milk (in two separate containers). I like to use two large tupperware containers and bread all my eggplant before I start frying, otherwise your kitchen may end up a huge mess. Next, heat a saute pan (medium to medium high) with olive oil and place eggplant in hot pan. Flip over when browned (about 2-3 minutes per side). While your first batch of eggplant is cooking, place a layer of sauce in casserole pan. Once the eggplant is done, place a layer on top of the sauce. Follow with another layer of sauce and then the cheese. Repeat until you have no more eggplant. Depending on the size of the eggplant, you will probably end up with 2-3 layers.
Quick and easy sauce:
1 large can of tomato sauce
1 medium can of diced tomatoes (I like the Del Monte diced with oregano, basil, and garlic)
1 small can of tomato paste
2 tbl sp chopped garlic
2 tbl sp parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tbl sp sugar
good red wine ( to taste, I usually go with 1/3 cup)
Start with some olive oil and add the garlic, sauce, tomatoes and paste. Then add sugar, wine, and cheese. The longer you simmer the better!
Simple Cannoli filling:
1 small container of whole milk ricotta (or a large one, depending on how much you want to make)
1/2 to 1 cup of Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Drain ricotta in a cheese cloth for about an hour or longer, depending on how dry you want it. Mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved. I usually start off with 1/2 cup of sugar and taste as I go to make sure I don't make it too sweet, which usually ends up at about 1 cup of sugar. Fill shells with a pastry bag, or if you don't have a pastry bag, you can put the filling in a zip loc bag and cut one of the corners to act as a pastry bag, it works just the same!
Lastly, ENJOY :)