I've never eaten eggplant before. Honestly, its always creeped me out a little. I mean, its big and its purple... its like the Barney of vegetables. Who the heck wants to eat a Barney pod? But I am on a quest to eat more vegetables, and it was on sale for .88 this week. Clearly, the universe and eggplants were conspiring against me. I bought the eggplant.
I brought it home along with my other veggies, and carefully placed it on the counter. It sat there for a day or two while I contemplated what to do with it. I kept a close eye on it, lest it hatch and unleash a mini Barney upon my home. (A ninja could totally take out a mini Barney, by the way, its just that it would probably make a big mess in the process and I already have enough to clean up with the Ninja pups and Ninja Hubz). Anyway, I finally decided that just about anything tastes good fried, so I'd go with a classic eggplant parmesan.
After a little research, here's what I ended up doing:
I peeled and sliced the eggplant into about 3/8 inch slices. I salted each slice heavily, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
While they were resting, I mixed up about 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 3 Tbs parmesan/romano cheese, and 1 Tbs Italian seasoning. In another bowl, I beat 2 eggs. I put about 4 Tbs of olive oil in a frying pan and heated it up.
At the end of 30 minutes, I thoroughly rinsed each slice to remove all the salt. Then I dipped each slice in the egg, then the bread crumb mixture to coat both sides, and put it into hot oil. Fried them for a couple of minutes on each side until they were golden brown, drained them on a paper towel for a few minutes, and put them into a 9x13 baking dish. I put a couple spoonfuls of jarred spaghetti sauce and a sprinkle of mozzerella cheese on each slice, and baked at 350 for about 10-15 minutes (just long enough to heat the sauce and melt the cheese).
You know what? Eggplant doesn't have a lot flavor. Really, it was actually pretty good, but it tasted pretty much like spaghetti sauce on fried breadcrumbs. Nothing wrong with that. I kind of expected a little something more, but I'm not overly disappointed. I doubt this will make it into my normal meal rotation as it was actually a little more work than I prefer, but I will probably make it again.
The REALLY good part about this dish is the cost. It definitely scores high on the frugal scale when you can get everything on sale:
- Eggplant: .88
- 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce: .25
- 2 oz. Mozzerella cheese: .35
- Breadcrumbs, spices, oil: pennies
- 2 eggs: .17
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 Tbs parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbs italian seasoning
- 4 Tbs cooking oil
- 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce
- 2 oz. Mozzerella cheese
- Peel and slice the eggplant into about 3/8 inch slices.
- Salt each slice heavily, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350
- Rinse each eggplant slice in cold water, removing ALL the salt.
- In a bowl, beat the two eggs.
- In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and italian seasoning.
- Heat the oil in a skillet.
- Dip each eggplant slice in the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, then place in the skillet.
- Fry the eggplant on each side until crispy and golden.
- Drain eggplant on paper towel for a few minutes.
- Place eggplant slices in a 9x13 baking dish.
- Top each slice with a couple of spoonfuls of spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with mozzerella.
- Bake until sauce is warm and cheese is melted (10-15 minutes).
Check out all kinds of great and frugal recipes at:
The $5 Dinner Challenge
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday