{Lightened Up} Eggplant Parm Stacks

Eggplant Parmesan is a delicious dinner, however I always spend the rest of the evening feeling super stuffed. Its a heavy dinner that is more suited for cold weather, but when I got it in the farmshare last week I had a strong desire to bread it :). This recipe is a lighter take on the traditional preparation, keeping the slices separate, limiting the amount of cheese and omitting the heavy tomato sauce. Honestly, I’d take this version over the traditional any time of year.
eggplant parm stacks

I suggest serving with some pasta and simple tomato sauce. I like Trader Joe’s Arrabiatta sauce, it packs a nice flavor for a jar of tomato sauce. Connor says its too spicy for him, so we always have some basic tomato basil variety on hand. Also, leftovers of these eggplant stacks reheat very well in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes. This is an easy dish to whip together on a weeknight and feels much more decadent than it is! That’s a win in my book, for sure.

you will need:
1 medium or 2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced into ½ inch rounds (about 15 slices)
kosher salt
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon each freshly ground salt and pepper
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup regular bread crumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large eggs, beaten
olive oil for pan frying
2-8 ounce balls fresh mozzarella cheese, thickly sliced (about 15 slices)
2 large heirloom tomato or 4-5 plum tomatoes, thickly sliced (about 15 slices)
15 or so leaves of fresh basil
balsamic reduction for drizzling (I LOVE this Cream of Balsamic and always have some in my fridge)

Lay the eggplant slices in a colander or on a wire cooling rack and sprinkle generously with salt and let sit for an hour for the bitter juices to weep. Rinse the eggplant with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. While the eggplant is sitting, prepare your breading ingredients. In one bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. In a second bowl combine the panko, bread crumbs, parmesan, dried basil and garlic powder. In a third bowl beat the eggs.

Dip each eggplant slice in the flour mixture, then the egg, then the bread crumb mixture. Make sure each slice is fully coated before moving on to the next bowl. Place each breaded slice on a baking sheet until ready to cook.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. You will need to add more oil for a new batch of eggplant slices.

Fry breaded eggplant slices in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. When cooked, set the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. When all eggplant is cooked, top each slice with a piece of mozzarella, then a basil leaf, then a tomato slice. Broil on high until sizzling and tomatoes begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes.

Take out of the oven and drizzle with balsamic reduction/cream of balsamic and serve immediately alongside some pasta with a simple tomato sauce.

serves: 4
time: 15 min prep + 15 min cooking

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