Monday, June 10, 2013

Cooking Will Help - Eggplant Parm

Egads! We are getting still more rain today(my day off of course) and we had torrential rains last night that have done even more damage to the garden. Lots of work washed away. Anyhow, as is true when I am stuck inside I will cook. Went to the market and grabbed a nice eggplant and some Pecorino Romano and fresh mozzarella and and I'll get it assembled this afternoon...Funny, the best eggplant parm you will find doesn't have Parmesan cheese at all, well, at least in my experience.
The key to the best flavor is to slice the eggplant long wise and about a quarter inch thick(hint: leave the skin on for a little more eggplant flavor). Dredge in flour, then beaten egg and then seasoned bread crumbs. Saute in olive oil until brown and then assemble like a small lasagna with Pecorino and homemade marinara in between the layers. Top with marinara and fresh mozzarella and bake at 350F for about 30-40 minutes until the cheese starts to brown. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve. Really simple but very nice. Another hint: don't overwhelm this with the Pecorino, it's a strong sheep's milk cheese and just a little between the layers will let itself be known but not hide the taste of the aubergine, unless you are trying to hide the taste of the aubergine ;-)

While I'm at it and since I am too lazy to look it up to see if I have posted it before, I'll share a recipe for a marinara that is my go to for everything. No long simmering or meat or anything just taste.

Really Quick Marinara

28oz  canned whole tomatoes(San Marzano are nice) and I typically just use a quart of my home canned tomatoes
3 Tbsp    extra virgin olive oil
1     small onion chopped finely
2     cloves of garlic crushed/chopped very fine
1     Tsp dried basil
1     Tsp dried oregano
       salt and pepper to taste
       pinch  of crushed red peppers or to taste

In a small sauce pan saute the chopped onion in the olive oil and if your using it the red pepper flakes. When the onions are translucent add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more but be careful not to color the garlic or it will be bitter. Add the tomatoes and herbs and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Depending on how 'chunky' you want the sauce either use the spoon or an immersion blender to break up the tomatoes. This will work over pasta or as the sauce for lasagna or an eggplant parm as above. The recipe will easily double or triple and the sauce will keep in the fridge for a week or more and freezes great. If you are going to use it on a pizza try letting it simmer a while longer to reduce some of the moisture.

Speaking of pizza...if you make your own at home (and you should) try making the sauce fresh. Chopped fresh tomato, onion, garlic and basil with a dash of olive oil (Think Italian salsa). It cooks in the oven and it really makes a great pizza.


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