This is one of my staple dishes in the summer, when I find myself queen of mount eggplant. It’s a pretty simple, healthy take on one of my all-time favorites, and as a huge bonus, it’s a big hit with the 0-2 year-old demographic. It’s fun to look at and is crunchy, so Lily actually asks for it, hence the cuted*-up-for-baby name. I don’t usually go around just shortening the names of things to be all Rachel Ray about it. But babies man, they’ll get ya.
I try to use eggplant from the farmers market and avoid grocery store eggplant the way I would avoid grocery store tomatoes, because they’re squishy and full of air and completely lacking in taste. Amy’s Garden has lovely certified organic Eggplant available RIGHT NOW. Trust me.
2 Large Eggplant, sliced approx 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, and salted and drained
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, seasoned
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon Magic Sprinkles
2 eggs (plus 1/4 cup water)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
1 large clove Garlic, minced
1 (16 oz can) Tomatoes, petite dice
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare 3 containers with flour, egg wash, and panko to form an assembly line for breading. Season both the flour and the panko. Using one hand for dry ingredients and one hand for the salted eggplant and the eggwash, move the sliced eggplant along your assembly line until you’ve breaded each piece. Place the breaded eggplant on pan-sprayed baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, and flip; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until eggplant is golden brown and cooked through.
While the eggplant is baking, heat onion and garlic in a saute pan with olive oil until transluscent. Add tomatoes, basil, magic sprinkles, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Cook for another few minutes, no more than ten.
Remove eggplant from the oven. Build towers of eggplant with a spoonful of sauce between each layer. Top with shredded mozzarella and bake just enough to melt the cheese. Enjoy with pasta and a salad, or even peas.
*would you prefer encutened?