Unfortunately ripe, beautiful eggplants come up in late summer when everyone's favorite eggplant dish (only eggplant dish?) Eggplant Parmesan sounds way too hot and heavy. I have a way of getting a future freezer meal out of those peak of season eggplants plus a recipe to enjoy now.
Winter: Eggplant Parmesan
Ingredients needed to freeze:
1 cup milk
3 cups bread crumbs
salt and pepper
Ingredients to serve in the future:
a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil
optional* mozzarella cheese
1. Eggplant turns brown quickly, so get your other ingredients prepared first before the eggplant. Crack 2 eggs and beat together with the milk in a dish. In a Ziploc baggie add your breadcrumbs. I make my breadcrumbs by pulsing in the food processor all of those lonely hamburger and hot dog buns that are left over from a meal.
2. Peel and slice the eggplant. I like to slice the eggplant "hot dog way" or length wise. My eggplants were fairly small and I got 4 slices from each about 1/3 inch thick.
3. Working 1 or 2 at a time, add the eggplant to the egg/milk mixture and coat. Then one at a time add to the breadcrumb mixture and shake the eggplant around in the bag. Then repeat the egg/milk dip and the breadcrumb dip. This double coating will give you a crunchy coating of the bread crumbs. Place on foil or wax paper on top of a platter or cutting board that will fit in your freezer. Coat all of the eggplant slices.
4. Sprinkle the coated eggplant with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Making sure none of the eggplant is touching place and in the freezer on top of the foil/wax paper. As soon as they are frozen (a few hours) you can lift the eggplant off the foil/wax paper and place them in a Ziploc freezer bag for future use.
5. To serve: Heat a skillet with a few tablespoons of oil over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and cook until golden on both sides and warmed through, just a few minutes per side. Top with warmed marinara and Parmesan. To make it extra cheesy like they do in restaurants, add a sprinkle of mozzarella on top and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.
Summer Eggplant: Marinated and Grilled
Italian salad dressing
1. Peel the eggplant. I slice it "hamburger way" or into rounds about 1/3 inch thick for this recipe. If this were winter I would salt the eggplant and let it hang out in a colander in the sink for 30 minutes and then rinse. With fresh summer eggplant, I don't think it is bitter and doesn't require the salt preparation.
2. Place the slices in a sided dish and coat with the italian dressing and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
3. Using your barbeque or an indoor grill pan, heat to med-high. Add the eggplant slices and grill just until pronounced grill marks appear on both sides, this will only take a few minutes.
4. To serve: This eggplant is delicious on a salad or in a pasta dish but my favorite way to serve it is as part of a hummus plate. Take the eggplant, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives, pita bread or chips and serve along with hummus for a really fresh and summery dinner or appetizer.