Never Have I Ever

I’m always contemplating ways to sneak vegetarian meals into my dinner repertoire.

It seems like we’re eating chicken or turkey in one form or another for almost every meal. Not that I have anything against either poultry, but like anything else, it’s nice to switch it up.

I recently decided that I could slip eggplant onto my husband’s plate if it was breaded, smothered in spicy marinara sauce, topped with cheese, and then baked to perfection.

I was all set to give it a go Thursday night when my husband informed me that his friends were coming over for dinner. Nervous that the baked Eggplant Parmesan wasn’t going to be what these guys had in mind, I continued as planned, hoping to shock them.

As we started to eat, comments expressing satisfaction and approval were intermittently mumbled between bites. Finally my husband exclaimed, “I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten an entire plate of eggplant in my life.” Quickly our male guests confessed that not only was this their first eggplant experience, but never had they ever imagined they’d enjoy it so much. 

The meal was a success!

Breading the eggplant

Layering the baked eggplant slices

Layered and baked to perfections

Enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan

Source: Martha Stewart

What You Need

  • Olive oil, for baking sheets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 large eggplant (roughly 1¼ pounds), peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds
  • 3 cups store-bought or homemade chunky tomato sauce
  • ¾ cups shredded mozzarella

What To Do

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Brush 2 baking sheets with oil; set aside.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and 2 tablespoons water.
  3. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 2/3 cup Parmesan, oregano, and basil; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; place on baking sheets.
  5. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more.
  6. Remove from oven; raise oven to 400°.
  7. Spread 1 cup of sauce in a 9x13 inch-baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in dish; cover with 1 cup sauce, then ¼ cup mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce and mozzarella; sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  8. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, 15 to 20 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
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