Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Healthier Eggplant Parmesan

So you love Eggplant Parmesan, but you’re on a diet… Or you can’t have fried foods because of your blood pressure, cholesterol or other Doctor restricted $(#*%#()_ food groups.

Here’s an eggplant parmesan that omits the breading and frying, replaces it with herbs and roasting, and adds some spinach for extra vitamins. It’s a healthier version that works for me, and I’ve had no complaints from the peanut gallery at home.

1 medium large eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
Kosher salt
extra virgin olive oil (enough to brush)
6 ounces of spinach (fresh, steamed)
1 cup of part skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 batch Tomato Sauce (you’ll have some leftover)
2 ounces Herbs de Provence
ounce or so of panko bread crumbs.

2 baking sheets
about 10 or so paper towels
a heavy weight or large pot of water
baking dish roughly 10x7x2
Parchment paper (not wax)

There is a photo set on Flickr that provides a visual guide to this recipe.

Salt the eggplant slices liberally on both sides, place in layers on a baking sheet thusly:

baking sheet
paper towels
eggplant slices
paper towels
eggplant slices
paper towels
baking sheet

Now place a weight such as a pot with 4 quarts of water on top and let sit for one hour to 90 minutes. This will allow the salt time to draw out the bitter water in the eggplant and also soften it up.

about 20 minutes before the time is up preheat the oven to 350F

When the time is up, rinse each slice in cold water quickly to remove the salt and give it a squeeze to get any more water out of it.

Wipe down the baking sheets to reuse, arrange slices on baking sheets, lightly brush both sides of the eggplant with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with the herbs de Provence. Bake for 30-40 minutes until done.

spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the baking dish, add one layer of eggplant, some of the spinach, some Parmesan, some ricotta, and cover with a layer of sauce. repeat. The top layer should be eggplant, Parmesan, ricotta and covered in sauce, no spinach, that should all be inside.

Cover the baking dish with parchment paper (not wax), and then with foil and bake for one hour at 350F.

Remove from oven, set to broil.

Remove foil and parchment paper, sprinkle with panko and a light coating of Parmesan cheese. place under broiler until golden brown, roughly 2 minutes, be careful not to burn the topping.

Don’t forget to pull up the Eggplant photos on Flickr as a visual guide.

Eggplant Parmesan

And now for the hardest part of this recipe, indeed readers, the hardest thing I will ever ask of you. Let this sit for ten minutes to set up before attempting to serve.