First I thought I would make roasted vegetable briami. Then I remembered that I had a package of provolone cheese slices in the refrigerator drawer. I had never made eggplant parmigiana before and I generally don’t love it. But, I had to use these eggplants and thought I would give it a try.
Perfection! My husband even loved it and declared that I should make this on a regular basis. That won’t be happening because we don’t eat much dairy in our house (which makes me wonder why I had the package of provolone?). You could make this with Daiya dairy-free Mozzarella and it would just taste slightly different.
I also love that this dish is not fried. As much as I would have loved to dip the eggplant into some hot oil and fry it before baking, that just isn’t happening at my house very often. But it turned out, we didn’t need to fry it and the flavors were rich and comforting.
Bread crumb notes: We always have gluten free bread crumbs in our freezer. When I get down to the ends of the bread I throw them in a bag in the freezer. When I accumulate a few pieces I give them a whirl in the blender. Then I put the breadcrumbs in a container in the freezer. And I have purchased many loaves of gluten free bread that are too dry to consume. They get made into bread crumbs too.
Marinara notes: Use your favorite jar of marinara or spaghetti sauce for this recipe. I am loving the Mario Batali version. It is not certified as gluten free but we don’t seem to have any problems with it so far. It is a little pricey so I buy it when it is on sale and I buy a case so I get an additional discount.
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4” slices
1 cup gluten free flour
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 bottle marinara sauce
8 slices provolone cheese or shredded dairy-free Mozzarella
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
cooking oil spray
Preheat oven to 350.
Set up a breading station with three shallow bowls. In one bowl put the flour mixed with 1 teaspoon season salt. In the second bowl, crack the eggs and whisk with a fork . In the third bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the dried oregano and basil.
Bread the eggplant slices. Start by dipping one slice into the flour. Lift the eggplant out of the flour and shake off any excess flour. Next dip the floured eggplant in to the egg. Lift out of the egg and allow any excess egg to drip off. Then lay the eggplant in the breadcrumbs and make sure both sides are coated with crumbs. Once covered set on a plate. Finish all of the eggplant slices in this manner.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray with spray oil. Place pieces of eggplant in the pan in one layer, leaving room to not crowd the eggplant. Allow to brown on the first side, about 2 minutes. Using thongs, flip over the eggplant pieces and brown on the other side for 2 minutes. Place on a plate. Continue browning all the eggplant in this manner. Respray the pan between batches.
In a medium sized casserole dish pour ¼ of the marinara sauce. Lay a layer of eggplant slices on the marinara (generally 4-6 pieces of eggplant). Cover the eggplant with a layer of provolone. Pour another ¼ of the marinara on top of the cheese. Continue to layer the sauce, eggplant and cheese until you have a final layer of cheese.
Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked through and the top layer of cheese has browned.