The Recipes

Eggplant "Lasagna"

I was craving eggplant parmesan.  I was also craving lasagna.  I also would like to not weigh 3,000 pounds come summer.  Am I really worrying about summer already?  I feel like I just entered the lovely East Coast winter hibernation.  What you have here is a hybrid result, abandoning some of the unhealthiest aspects of fried food and ridiculously calorie-heavy lasagna.



Eggplant "Lasagna"

Ingredients:

- one eggplant, ends removed and cut into planks lengthwise
- 1- 1/2 c. part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
- handful of basil leaves, most intact and 2 T. chopped
- 1/4 c. diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
- 1 c. tomato sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 fresno chile pepper, minced (or substitute a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes)
- 1/3 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 T. tomato paste
- salt
- pepper
- olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Set a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.  Lay the eggplant planks on the rack.  Season them lightly with salt and let them sit while you start the sauce.  This will help draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant.

In a large pot, heat 1 T. of olive oil.  Add the onion and pepper, season with salt, and let them soften for 5-6 minutes.

Once the oven preheats, turn the eggplant pieces over.  Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, once the onion and pepper are soft, stir in the garlic for a minute.  Next add the tomato paste and stir to waken it up.  Add the tomato sauce and paste and season with salt and pepper.  Let the sauce simmer while the eggplant cooks.  When the eggplant is done, stir in the chopped basil to the sauce.

Once the eggplant and sauce are ready, ladle a small amount of sauce into the bottom of a baking dish.  Put down one layer of the eggplant and scatter 1/2 of the cheese over the eggplant and top with a layer of sauce.  Next, scatter the whole basil leaves over the sauce.  Top with the remaining eggplant, followed by a layer of sauce, the remaining basil, and finish with a layer of cheese.  Cover and return to the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the cover, turn the oven up to broil, and let the cheese on top brown for 2-3 minutes.  Let it rest for at least five minutes before trying to cut into it.  Like lasagna, or any layered dish, this will only get better after being refrigerated for a couple of days.