My sophomore year, I lived with four very different women (and a few mice) in a cramped quad at GW. I shared a room with Beanie, a sassy spitfire and one of my most favorite people in the whole entire world. Due to my dogged clumsiness, she was forced to take the top bunk, as climbing up and down a rickety ladder for a year was simply not an option.
I never really got used to my time on the bottom bunk and I was constantly hitting my head on the top frame. One of my best friends, Old Man, was always witnessing these spectacular head thumps, constantly amazed at my complete inability to learn my lesson . One day, I slammed my head so hard I saw stars and yelped in pain, and his response was, “God dammit, Lemmonex, even dogs learn after the first time”. There is some deep irony in this statement, as two years later, Old Man was the benefactor of my inability to learn a lesson. We proved in three short months how you can irreparably damage a close friendship.
While preparing this eggplant parmesan, I burned myself not one, not two, but three times. I grabbed the same scorching hot pan handle over and over again, proving that dogs are apparently smarter than me. I was glad Annie Birdie was not home to hear my stream of expletives, because frankly, I would have been embarrassed if I had to explain to her what an idiot I am.
This dish was worth it, though. I made it on a total whim after browsing the aisles at the supermarket and admiring the eggplant. I have never cooked at home with eggplant, and I knew it was a risk, but it was a risk well taken. I set up a simple breading station, using whole wheat flour and egg beaters in an effort to lighten things up. For the third “dip” in the breading station, I used a mixture of whole wheat flour and grated parmesan instead of the traditional breadcrumbs. I find this results in a flavorful, light(er) dish. Of course, no frying either; frying in my house is a slippery slope and a can of worms I must not pop open. Topping with sauce, a basil leaf and low fat mozzarella cheese garnered awesome results, and I promise you will not miss the greasier versions we know all too well. A little bit of whole wheat pasta and gal cannot go wrong.
Just watch out for hot pans.
1/2 jar tomato sauce
Non stick spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2″ rounds
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup egg beaters
2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
3/4 low fat mozzarella cheese
Additional grating of parmesan
Preheat oven to 350. In the bottom of a large baking dish, spread about 3/4 cup of tomato sauce, so the surface is fully coated and set aside.
Find three dishes to create breading station. These dishes should contain:
- Dish 1: half of flour, pinch salt, a few grinds of pepper
- Dish 2: egg beater, a few grinds of pepper
- Dish 3: remaining half of flour, parmesan, pepper, oregano
Heat a frying pan and add spray and 1 tablespoon oil. Dip each piece of eggplant in your breading station (Dish one, then two, then three). Fry each piece of eggplant for about 2 minutes on each side in hot pan and place in baking pan when done.
When all pieces are done, cover each with a basil leaf (NOTE: if you don’t have fresh basil, add about 2 teaspoons of the dried stuff to the third breading station), remaining sauce and the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake in oven for about 15 minutes. I placed it the baking dish in the broiler for about 1 minute to brown on top, but this is not a necessary step. Be careful if you do this as it burns very quickly. Serve with whole wheat pasta.