The only thing I love more than my mom’s meatballs is her eggplant parm.
If you’ve only eaten eggplant parm out at a restaurant, you have never eaten eggplant parm.
Sorry restaurants. But mom’s will win every time.
Bobby Flay should really come do a Throwdown with my mom.
Here’s the thing about her eggplant though. It’s a process. Totally worth it in the end, but it involves a lot of time over a hot stove. First you make the gravy, then you fry the eggplant in batches, then you layer the gravy and the eggplant in a casserole dish, then you top with cheese, then you bake for an hour, and then, during that hour, you clean your grease-splattered stove.
In the summer, my itty bitty city kitchen is ridiculously hot.
So no thanks.
But I was thinking about eggplant. And so I came up with this. It’s not at all the same thing as mom’s, but it’s quick and it’s light.
Think of it as the summertime cousin to mom’s cheesy, melty, tray of eggplant wonderfulness.
A sort of quichey, eggplant pie.
You will need
1 heaping scoop ricotta cheese
splash of milk
butter for the dish
Turn your oven to 400.
Peel the eggplant and slice into discs. The more even the width, the more evenly they will bake.
Lay them on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
When the eggplant is nice and browned up, remove from the oven and set the slices aside. Slice up the tomato in rounds and place on the foil-lined sheet you just removed the eggplant from. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast for about ten minutes.
This recipe sounds a little lengthy, but to me roasting time isn’t really cooking time. I throw things in the oven and forget about them for a little bit, taking the time to unwind after a long day or to swiffer the floors or to do some previously neglected tasks. Like paying the bills. While the tomatoes roast is the perfect time to pay the bills.
When the tomatoes are done, butter a baking dish or pie pan. I’ve extolled the virtues of my pie pan before. Namely, that it is dishwasher safe. So between the foil-lined cookie sheet and the pan that goes in the dishwasher, this is a no cleanup necessary dinner.
Line the bottom of your pan with eggplant.
Next add a lawyer of tomatoes.
Top with the remaining eggplant.
Lower the oven to 350 and bake for 45 minutes. Again, a long baking time, but there’s very little active cooking time in this recipe. There’s a lot of hang out, put your feet up, sip some wine and let the smells fill the apartment time.
Remove from the oven when the eggs are set.
Slice up and serve with a side salad and some crusty bread.
It’s not mom’s but it does the trick.