I just found out that today is National Pasta Day.
I love pasta. I could not live without pasta.
I should be making pasta for national pasta day.
But, I confess. I’m not.
Because the only thing I will say yes to over pasta is what’s for dinner tonight.
When I was a kid, there were two things I would not eat. Meatloaf and eggplant parm. I thought the eggplant looked weird. And meatloaf? I still won’t touch that.
But I did eventually try the eggplant and find a love for it.
So now given the choice between pasta and eggplant, sorry pasta, it’s all about the parm tonight.
Eggplant parm is one of those dishes you have to mentally prepare yourself to make. It’s not really an itty bitty city kitchen weeknight one pot wonder.
In fact, it’s kind of a big mess.
But it is totally worth it.
I should clarify by saying that it’s not hard. But there are multiple steps involved. And there’s frying. Hence the mess.
Your ingredient list is simple though:
- eggplant, peeled and sliced into discs
- eggs, beaten into an egg wash
- flour, for dunking the eggplant,
- vegetable oil, for frying
- gravy (see here for mom’s recipe or use jarred)
Get a big frying pan and add enough oil to cover the bottom.
Set up a dredging assembly line with eggplant, egg wash, flour and frying pan.
Get ready to stand here for a while. Turn the game on. Or better yet, an episode of Sex and the City.
So the eggplant goes into the egg wash, then into the flour and then into the oil in the frying pan.
Fry the eggplant in batches. You want the heat at about medium and you don’t want to crowd the pan. You’re going to keep things moving by taking the dredged eggplant into the oil, flipping it to brown on both sides, and the placing it into a gravy-lined baking dish.
That’s about the color you want on your eggplant. You want the slices slightly browned, softened, but not cooked to mush.
Continue frying until the eggplant is all cooked and your baking dish is full. (I used two eggplants, because if I’m going to go through the process, I might as well make enough for leftovers. This is one of those things that’s better the next day.
Top the eggplant with gravy.
Then top the gravy with mozzarella.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. You want the cheese to melt and for all the flavors to meld together.
Dad hates that I decided to try eggplant. He doesn’t get as many leftovers as he did when I thought it looked weird