As a mother of 4, none of whom were kind enough to come at exactly 40 weeks, I am very familiar with eggplant parmigiana. And while I cannot attest to its success as a labor-inducer, I can absolutely call it a success in getting kids to eat their vegetables. Of course, I’ve found that my kids will eat almost anything that’s fried and covered in tomato sauce and cheese. But that’s beside the point.
I always feel fancy when I make this. I mean, try to tell someone you’re making Eggplant Parmigiana (and you have to say it all Italian-like) without feeling fancy. And feeling fancy goes a long way for a woman covered in baby drool and smeared PB&J. So here it is, my clean-eating Eggplant Parmigiana (you said it fancy just then, didn’t you? You go, friend.):
Before you get started, you should know a few things about eggplant.
- It doesn’t keep for long, so plan on cooking it as soon as you get it. (Or like, within 3 days, which is kinda pushing it)
- While we’re talking about keeping it, store it on your counter, not the fridge. Unless you want a shriveled up pile of mush. In which case, the fridge will work just fine.
- It’s a vegetable. No matter what you do with it, it will not taste like chicken. Just throwing that out there.
Woo-hoo! I’m assuming this means you’re still interested in making my eggplant parmigiana (I did it again). So here it is:
- 2 medium eggplants, firm to the touch
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 1 can tomato sauce
- Parmesan cheese, about 2 handfuls
- Mozzarella cheese, about 1 handful
For the frying process:
- 1 cup of flour
- 2 T garlic powder
- 1 T Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 inch worth of olive oil in your pan for frying
Yes, you can use regular pasta instead of spaghetti squash. But this is an AWESOME way to introduce spaghetti squash to your family if you haven’t tried it out yet. The trick is to undercook it just a bit.
- Bake your spaghetti squash at 350 for 45 minutes.
- While the squash is baking, peel and slice your eggplant into 1 inch slices. (I left the peel on, and ittotally turned some little people off the whole thing. Not going to repeat that mistake.)
- Combine your flour, garlic powder, italian seasoning, and pepper in a shallow bowl.
- Throw your 3 beaten eggs in another bowl. Maybe not so shallow. It doesn’t really matter.
- Heat oil over medium high heat (and have your splatter guard ready. Hot oil is the trick to crispy and not mushy fried eggplant, but it splatters, and it is so not fun getting pelted with those splatters).
- Dip your squash into the egg wash, then toss in the flour mixture before placing in the hot oil. Work your slices through, turning over as they turn golden brown in color, which for me is usually after about 90 seconds.
- Turn them out onto paper towels to drain.
Now, that batter is not going to lead to the world’s greatest fit-for-a-county-fair fried food. But it’s significantly leaner than the ones that incorporate milk, cream, or buttermilk, and since we’re covering everything in sauce, we really only needed a simple crust on the eggplant anyway.
- Now for the good part. Line you eggplant along the bottom of a glass baking dish, and cover with tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Work in layers if you need to- I didn’t have to.
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, sprinkling your handful of mozzarella over the top in the last 5 minutes.
This was super delish. And totally easy. With the exception of wild kids dancing to YouTube mashups of Dancing With The Stars and reenacting wrestling moves in the background. Which is totally acceptable if it leads to a dinner this tasty. Bon apetit!