This is a great time of year... lots of fresh vegetables and fruits are in season, including eggplant. The peak season for eggplant is during the months of August and September.  

There are many delicious eggplant dishes, and my favorite is Eggplant Parmesan. I like to make my own marinara sauce, and add ricotta cheese which lends a creamier flavor. Use part-skim or reduced-fat cheeses for a lighter version.

Diamond Eggplant Parmesan
Serves eight

Ingredients:

3 medium eggplants
2 cups marinara sauce (see below)
oil for frying
½  up all-purpose flour
½  cup Italian breadcrumbs
4 large eggs, beaten
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Marinara Sauce:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ onion, chopped
15 ounces tomato sauce
15 ounces diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon oregano, dried
½ teaspoon thyme, dried
½ teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4  inch slices. Arrange one layer in the bottom of a large colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. Repeat until all the eggplant is in the colander. Drain for one hour. This step will release some of the moisture from the eggplant. When the eggplant has drained, wipe off the excess salt, and use paper towels to remove any excess moisture, set aside.

Prepare the marinara sauce by adding the olive oil to a medium sauce pan and cook the garlic and onion until tender. Combine all other ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes, set aside.

Combine flour and bread crumbs and mix well. Pour beaten eggs into a separate bowl. 

In a large skillet, heat half an inch of frying oil. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture. Fry in batches until brown on both sides, turning once. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
 
Combine the ricotta cheese with a ½ cup of parmesan cheese.

In the bottom of a 10”x15” baking dish, spread half of the marinara sauce. Layer with one half of the eggplant slices.Top the eggplant with half of the mozzarella cheese, half of the basil leaves, and the ricotta/parmesan mixture.

Layer the remaining eggplant slices, spread the remaining marinara sauce, and top with the remaining mozzarella, basil, and parmesan.

Bake until the cheese has melted to a golden brown, and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Set for 15 minutes before serving. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a garden salad and hot crusty bread.

Buon Appetito!
Heirloom Diamond Eggplants ~ Delicious in Eggplant Parmesan
By Miss Lady Bug
 


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    Miss Lady Bug
    I'm a southern garden girl. Mason jars, aprons, vintage quilts, summer porches, sweet tea, and sunflowers are a few of my favorite things.
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