This is a new-to-us recipe that we found on Epicurious, in our (my) continuous search for delicious vegetarian dishes. We made a few changes to the original recipe – based on reviews from people who tried the Epicurious recipe. The result was good, but we think it could use some improvement. We liked that it was quick and easy for a weeknight, but missed the crispy breading aspect of regular eggplant parmesan. We’ll try it again sometime.
Shredded mozzarella. We’ve said it before and will probably say it again – don’t buy pre-shredded cheese if you can help it. So much better when you shred/grate your own. We think it tastes better and the block of cheese usually lasts longer in the fridge than the bag of pre-shredded stuff.
For some of the harder cheeses like parrano and parmesan, we use this rotary cheese grater. Dan first used one of these way back in law school when he worked part-time as a waiter. Despite how easy it is to use – with zero risk of accidentally grating your knuckle or fingernail as with a regular cheese grater – he first bought one for us to use at home just a few months ago. Curious. If you grate parmesan cheese often, don’t wait quite as long to get one of your own.
Chop up the basil.
To the cheeses, add breadcrumbs and basil.
We sliced the eggplant into circles about a 1/2 inch thick, based on the advice in some of the recipe reviews on Epicurious. One of our favorite things about that website is the review feature. People who try the recipes leave reviews with comments about why they liked the recipe (or didn’t), what they did different, etc. Very useful.
Instead of using fresh tomato as called for in the original recipe, we used Dan’s quick tomato sauce. And we’re glad we did – it was one of the best parts of the dish.
Brush the eggplant with the garlic olive oil on both sides and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Grill the eggplant for about 3 minutes over direct medium heat, then turn each piece. (Sorry for the poor quality night pictures – it is getting darker earlier these days, yet we still get home at the same used-to-be-more-light-outside time).
As soon as you turn the eggplant, add a spoonful of the tomato sauce to each eggplant round.
Then add the cheese mixture and lightly drizzle each eggplant round with a bit of garlic olive oil.
Continue grilling over low heat, covered, for approximately 7 minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted.
We garnished our eggplant with more fresh basil, and served it over thin spaghetti tossed with the quick red sauce and a side salad. Good, but could be better. If you have any suggestions or recipes for really good eggplant parm, we’d love to hear them in the comments!