Last night I made melanzane alla parmigiana, that’s eggplant.
I found eggplant on sale for $1.39 each and thought I could get a couple meals out of them.
I also wanted to see how fast I could put it together. So, I started at 5:20 pm by turning on the oven to 350F.
Then I started prepping the eggplant be peeling them.
Brush olive oil on them.
Load them onto a metal sheet and put them in the oven until they turn brown. I eventually turned on the broiler to high. I prefer to do this on the grill, but mine is all covered up for the winter. This is a good way to get some of the moisture out of the eggplant so your dish won’t turn to soup.
With the eggplant in the oven I turned to the sauce. Garlic, obviously.
Chop some onion. Doesn’t have to be too fine. I usually start the onion first, get it going, and then add the garlic. Do NOT "fry" garlic until it gets brown and bitter. GHUK.
I used a can of whole tomatoes. Dump them in and break them up with your spoon or whatever you are using.
I have a nice little basil plant growing away by a window.
Try using scissors for leaves like this. I often use scissors instead of a knife.
In it goes with a bit of salt. I have this cooking at a pretty good pace, to reduce it.
So, the sauce is going and it is time for …. grrr… no bread crumbs!
I threw some old bread into the oven with the eggplant for a couple minutes to dry it out, toast it even drier than it was, and put it into my little food processor. Zip it around for a while.
I was a little dubious about the use of pumpernickel, but that was mostly what I had.
We’ll see how it turns out in the end.
I also put in some oregano. Why into the crumbs and not the sauce? I dunno. I just did it that way.
I will need lots of ground parmigiano. Before I did the bread crumbs, I zipped this up in the gizmo and put it aside in a bowl. I break it into small chunks before putting it into the food processor.
Out come the eggplants. They could be browner, I guess, but I am moving forward anyway.
Save the rinds of the cheese for making soup.
Start lining the bottom of a pan. I am using a glass, rectangular oven safe dish.
Add a layer of sauce.
Crumbs… see how dark these are? Looks like coffee grounds.
Not sure about this…. but.. it’s what I have.
Another cheese. I like a bit of a soft cheese which will melt. I had some fontina in the fridge. I helped a piece into the freezer and then grated it while waiting to get the sauce tightened up. You don’t really need to grate it, I suppose. Just put it on in slices. It melts anyway, so who cares.
Into the oven it goes. I put some aluminum foil under it, since it wound up being pretty full.
Since pretty much everything in it is cooked, you can vary the length you leave it in. This was in for about 40 minutes, I think.
In the meantime I got the kitchen cleaned up and cut some parsley.
Plated at 6:35 pm.
1:15 from start to completion and the kitchen is clean. Without rushing.
The bread crumbs really gave the concoction a dark look and dark flavor.
This absolutely would have had to be paired with a red wine, rather than a white. Had the bread crumbs been less assertive, a dry white would do.
I gave this a B+ because I am unconvinced that the dark crumbs were the right match. They are all I had. Perhaps after warming some up today I will have a different experience of the flavors. This sort of food changes overnight.
Were I to invite Fr. Longenecker for a non-ferraiuolo supper, I’d go with the normal bread crumbs.
You could make this ahead of time and put it in the freezer. Actually, making a double batch would not take much more time and effort and you could have another whole meal, or several, on hand. Thaw and bake.
So… a large can of whole tomatoes, two eggplants, some old bread, a small onion, a few cloves of garlic, parmigiano and fontina. I am guessing less than $10. This will give me four large servings/meals. Say, $2.50 a plate.
A good Friday or Lenten meal, unless you also abstain from dairy.