Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grandma's Eggplant Parmigiana

Day 28 of the 30 Day Tasty Recipe Challenge

Today's recipe comes from my grandmother, one of my role models for feeding a family with love. This is one of my favorite foods. Grandma calls it Eggplant Parmigiana, and from early childhood this is what I thought Eggplant Parmigiana always was. We would eat this as a cold sandwich on Italian bread. My brothers and I all loved it, but would get curious looks from the other kids when we brought this to school for lunch. I later learned that Eggplant Parmigiana is usually served hot and with much more cheese. My grandmother gave me a tutorial in how to make this treasured family recipe about 20 years ago. I have yet to make it myself, and I don't remember my mother ever making it either. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I consider this to be her signature dish, and while she's still living (90 years old and going strong!), I don't want to tread on her turf. The measurements for this recipe are not precise, as she just cooks by adding "a little of this, and a little of that."

Grandma's Eggplant Parmigiana

1 eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
dried basil, a few shakes
black pepper, pinch
1 T olive oil, plus more oil for frying (I believe she used vegetable or canola oil)
1 cup flour
1 egg
garlic salt (about 1/2 tsp)
garlic powder (about 1/2 tsp)
grated parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup, plus more for layering)

  1. Make sauce by heating olive oil and cooking garlic briefly. Add cans of tomato sauce, black pepper, and basil. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes.
  2. Make batter for eggplant. Combine flour, egg, garlic salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix together with water until it is the consistency of pancake batter.
  3. Heat oil in frying pan.
  4. Dip eggplant slices in batter and fry in pan until browned on both sides.
  5. Put a thin layer of sauce at the bottom of a pie pan or casserole dish.
  6. As you cook eggplant slices, layer them in the pan in the following order: sauce, eggplant, sauce, sprinkling of parmesan cheese, etc.
  7. Refrigerate.

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