I was inspired to make this after seeing a droolworthy recipe on Serious Eats.
Of course, when I look at a recipe, I just generally look at the title and the picture of the final product, then kind of make up all of the in between steps on my own.
This is a GREAT pasta free lasagna type recipe. It’s rich but not greasy and filling but not uber heavy. It’s a great way to use up those late season eggplants and tomatoes.
And it’s especially tasty for a vegetarian crowd.
3 eggplants, skinned and sliced into thin slices, lengthwise
1 lb or so fresh, low moisture mozzarella
2-3 cups your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
A ton of salt…no, really, a ton of salt.
1. Lay your eggplant on a couple layers of paper towel on a sheet pan and salt the hell out of them. No reall…mountains of salt. This isn’t to season the eggplant (thought it does), it’s to both draw out the bitterness and the moisture, so the final dish isn’t too soggy. Do it anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. When you are doing this, there may be droplet of moisture on the tops of the eggplant and the paper towel will become soaked. That’s all okay, full steam head.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F, then fry the eggplant over medium high heat in a pan with olive oil. You don’t want the eggplant to be brown, the point here is to make it lightly golden and flexible – a minute or 2 per side should do it, and you should do it in batches so they can fry in an even layer.
A word about flying eggplant: eggplant is a sponge. It soaks up moisture immediately. So, use just a little oil at a time – a few teaspoons at first. If you need more go for it, but just use a little at a time, because you will have to re-oil for each batch.
4. Drain the fried eggplant well on a few paper towels – it will be really greasy and you are gonna want to dry them off as well as possible. If they tear a little while you drain them, it’s okay. Now, the layering starts:
cheese, and repeat until the eggplant is al used up. I threw some tomatoes in there because they were going bad – feel free to use the same. Now, bake it for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is totally melted, the dish is bubbling, and you are drooling.
Oh, this is gooood. This is big bowl on the couch with comfy pajamas and trash tv good. This is cold for breakfast he next day good. This…is…good. It will seem quite watery when it is first finished, but I promise that the juices get soaked right back up. Though, truth be told, I spooned up those juices and ate them as an appetizer before they even got a chance to redistribute. This is so delicious.
The eggplant is silky but still firm enough to stand up to the tomato sauce, the salty Parmesan, and the stretchy mozzarella. It’s pizza without the dough and lasagna without the ricotta. It’s easy to make (Even though it’s time-consuming), and any meat eater will be shocked that they can feel so satisfied with nary a pork product in sight. Make this stat and thank me tomorrow.
Or don’t. Because you will be too busy stuffing your race with leftovers.