This year for Mother’s Day I wanted to go with something simple that would really make her happy. One of my mom’s favorite dishes is my eggplant parm, so I went with that. Making it isn’t simple, it isn’t quick, but the end product is fantastic. This recipe is my own, and every time I make this, it is slightly different than the time before. The ingredients rarely change, but the quantities do based on the audience and how long I am willing to smell like garlic.
Let’s get started: the first thing to do is make the sauce. I make a simple sauce with a lot of garlic and fresh basil. Mince some fresh garlic. Fry the garlic in extra virgin olive oil until it gets very aromatic. Once this happens, add diced roma tomatoes and fresh basil. By now your kitchen should be smelling pretty great.
Once the tomatoes start to break down a little and the basil is wilted, add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Crack some salt, pepper, and red pepper into the sauce, and slow boil everything as you start preparing the eggplant.
I like to alternately peel the eggplant before slicing it nice and thin. I keep the slices in water until they are ready to fry. This keeps then from browning. I fry my eggplant in a mixture of half vegetable and half extra virgin olive oil. Sometimes I fry in all evoo, but I find it easier to use the mix. Another thing which helps is to use a really nice pan (I love my copper core All-Clads so much). Fry the eggplant until it turns a nice golden color, and becomes halfway to crispy.
While the eggplant is frying, start to grate the cheese. I use romano cheese.
When all of the eggplant is finished, I take the sauce off the burner and get to work assembling. Eggplant first, then sauce, then cheese. Do this until there is no more eggplant, and then coat the top with a fairly thick amount of cheese.
Put the pan into the oven at 400º for 10 to 20 minutes. Finally, stick it under broiler until the cheese turns brown, at most 5 minutes.
The finished product is different than the ‘standard’ eggplant parm in that I do not bread the eggplant, and do not bake it for a long time. I think this gives better individual flavors to all of the ingredients.