eggplant mozzarella (f.k.a. eggplant parmesan)

there are a million eggplant parmesan recipes in the world. and at the basic level, they aren’t all that different. when making this dish, i realized that i use significantly more mozzarella than parmesan, so i’m renaming it to be more appropriately descriptive.

image

my inspiration for a new eggplant moz/parm recipe came from the amateur gourmet. he made one really smart observation – why are all eggplant parmesan recipes so focused on the cheese and not the eggplant? why cut it up into thin slices and make it lose all it’s delicious eggplanty-ness? for that, i thank him, because he is right. the key to this recipe is nice, thick pieces of eggplant with a hint of the other ingredients. okay, so there is a decent amount of cheese in this, but still.

makes 3 servings. but, i’m not going to lie, i ate half of this my myself while watching the biggest loser. i don’t know what that says about me.

  • 1 medium to large eggplant
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 can peeled, whole tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • handful fresh basil leaves, chopped into medium sized pieces (or torn, if you’re feeling dangerous)
  • 4-6 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (you can use other bread crumbs, i just really love panko)

preheat your oven to 450. combine onion and garlic in a large pot with some olive oil. heat until it starts to brown. add in carrots and thyme. stir and let it took down for about five minutes. add in tomato paste and canned tomatoes (with juice). let it cook down for about 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently. oh and of course, salt and pepper the thing.

while that’s cooking down, slice your eggplant into nice thick pieces. they should be about half an inch to an inch thick. spread some olive oil on the bottom of a pan and lay the eggplant flat (use two pans if needed, don’t layer). bake those for 30 minutes.

once your eggplants are done, add the chopped (or torn!) basil to the tomato dish. remove it from the heat. you want the basil to wilt a little. now start building your tower of delicious eggplant mozzarella. put half the eggplant on the bottom of the pan, spoon half the tomato mixture on top. now layer your mozzarella. now the second half of your eggplant! it’ll look like this:

image

you’re almost done – use the other half of the tomato mixture to cover the eggplants. sprinkle your parmesan and panko on the top. and bake for 15 minutes.

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