3 medium sized young eggplants with firm skin and a beautiful green stem
1 egg thinned with two tablespoons of water
1/2 cup panko, regular, Italian, or my favorite Garlic panko
1 t dried garlic
3 cups garlicky spaghetti sauce
2 eggs, beaten
4 oz Parmigiano Reggiano
2 t dried garlic
12-24 basil leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and torn in half
16 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
2 oz grated Pecorino Romano
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Spoon Mage™ Note:
Globe eggplants have thicker skin and more seeds than the Japanese or Fairy Tale varieties. If you do not care for eggplant skin, go ahead and peel the skin – or use another variety.
You will need one or two more of the slender Japanese eggplants than you would globes. Pick a great bundle of the teeny tiny fairy tale eggplants if they are your favorites. If you use fairy tale eggplants, you do not need to pre-roast them, but you can. Here’s a great recipe that uses them in a smaller 2 quart casserole dish. Grow or purchase whatever variety you wish – it will still be delicious.
Preheat oven to 425° F
Prepare the eggplant. Slice off the top and bottom of one eggplant. Stand on one end and slice off the purple skin on two sides only from top to bottom. Leave the rest of the skin in place.
Make long vertical slices about 1/2 inch thick. No, you don’t have to measure.
Arrange them in a very large baking dish that has been sprayed with your favorite oil spray. They can overlap a little, but do not make layers that overlap completely. Use two pans if necessary.
Brush with thinned egg and press the panko on top and sprinkle with garlic. Give the tops a quick spritz of the cooking spray.
Roast in the oven until the Panko browns and the eggplant begins to cook, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the oven and let them set in the pan to cool a bit while you prepare the sauce.
Reduce the oven to 400° F.
Mix the 2 eggs, Parmigiano Regginao, and dried garlic.
Add three cups of the warmed spaghetti sauce – stir quickly so the eggs incorporate into the sauce and do not “scramble.”
Spray a 3 quart or 9×13″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread about 3/4 cup (1/4) of the eggy sauce over the bottom of the dish.
Lay out 1/3 of the eggplant, panko side up, sprinkle with pepper, dot with 6 torn basil leaves. Spread out the mozzarella. If you decided to just get two eggplants, that’s fine. Make two layers instead of three – so put half of the eggplant slices down first.
Repeat layers twice (three layers is just right for a nice deep pan). Sauce, eggplant, pepper, basil, mozzarella.
After the final layer is added, spread the remaining sauce on the top and sprinkle with the Pecorino Romano – or just more Parmesan, that’s fine too.
Place the pan into the oven and bake approximately 50 minutes, or until the cheese is well browned and the dish nicely bubbly and hot.
Test to see if the eggplant is done -using a fork, the fork should slide in and out very easily. If the cheese is well browned before the eggplant is done, cover the pan with foil. If the eggplant was not done, it means the slices were just a little too thick.
While the eggplant bakes, begin prep for boiling pasta if you are serving that too. The water should come to a boil as you remove the parmigiana from the oven.
Remove eggplant from the oven and allow to sit and rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes (while the pasta boils). If you forgot to make a salad, that’s ok. Now is the time!