There is a running joke about J from his Kings Point days. It has something to do with marinara sauce and lasagna. I'm not privvy to all of the details, nor do I really care to understand. What I do pull from this "joke," is that my husband is a lasagna loving, chicken parm eating, all-around marinara enthusiast. I missed the marinara gene...or maybe I just can't stomach a jar full of processed tomato sauce when I can make my own, fresh version just as easily. In an effort to meet in the middle, I thought we would have eggplant parm for dinner the other night. I was not in the mood to make tomato sauce and being stubborn, I opted against using the single can of sauce in the cupboard. The following recipe is what resulted - a marinara-less, italian dish, using only the freshest ingredients. And guess what? My Italian, marinara loving husband gave it his stamp of approval
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes; Cook Time: roughly 1 hour total
- 1 medium size eggplant, skinned and thinly sliced
- 2-3 roma or beefsteak tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2-2/3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3-4 tsp basil, dried
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Slice the eggplant into approximately 1 inch slices.
- Arrange the breadcrumbs in one bowl, the flour in another, and the whisked egg in a third bowl.
- Dip a slice of eggplant in flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs. Shake off excess breadcrumbs and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with all slices.
- Place on the cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (roughly 1-2 tbsp total), 1-2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Flip them, drizzle a bit more olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Bake the other side for another 10 minutes. You want them to be mostly cooked (you could eat them at this point).
- Spray a 8x8inch pan (or a round one like I used above).
- Layer as follows: eggplant on the bottom, tomato, cheese, spinach, eggplant, tomato, cheese. Place just enough slices of eggplant, tomato and spinach to cover a layer. Use about 1/4-1/3 cup of cheese on each layer.
- Place in the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes.