Eggplant Parmigiana

Some would argue that the Parmigiana treatment creates the ultimate eggplant dish.  With rich flavors and textures, this is vegetarian comfort food at its best.

Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time: about 35 minutes
Serves:  5-6

INGREDIENTS
4-5 cups marinara sauce (here’s the recipe, or use your favorite store bought)
3 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup flour1 1/2 cups wheat bran or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium eggplants, cut into slices about 1/3 inch thick (about 12 slices)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Heat the sauce in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.  Put the flour and the wheat bran (or bread crumbs) in separate shallow dishes.  A pie plate is perfect for this.  Stir the oregano, salt and pepper into the wheat bran.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Coat an eggplant slice in flour, dip it in the egg, and then in the seasoned wheat bran. Place this coated slice in the skillet, and repeat with other slices until the skillet surface is covered.  Cook each slice for about 3 minutes, or until browned and crisp on one side, then turn and cook for another 3 minutes.

Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a thin layer of the heated sauce.  As the eggplant slices are cooked, place them next to each other on the sauce in the baking dish.

Continue to cook the eggplant slices until they are all in the baking dish.  If necessary, create a second layer of eggplant in the dish.

Sprinkle the basil on top of the eggplant slices, and spread the remaining sauce over the top. Spread the Parmesan, then the Mozzarella, evenly over the top.  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the sauce begins to gently bubble.

Serve with a dry red wine.  A good Chianti would be perfect.

Served up by Tod Dimmick

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