Alas, as the summer sun peters out, a few gems from the field bid farewell to my plate: eggplant, tomato and basil. This Eggplant Parmesan was inspired by Mark Bittman, who dotes on simple, delicious meals rooted in culture. He dares anyone to find an Eggplant Parmesan in Parma, Italy that is stringy with mozzarella. Leave out the breadcrumbs too – you won’t miss them! (Bonus recipe included: Buttered and Charred Sweet Corn)
This is really and truly worth making!
- Eggplant - 1 eggplant, sliced into 1-cm wheels
- Salt - 1 tablespoon table salt, or other salt
- Tomatoes - 2 large tomatoes, sliced into 1-cm wheels
- Extra virgin olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- Garlic - 1 tablespoon
- Rosemary - 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary, fresh or dried
- Thyme - 1/2 teaspoon, fresh or dried
- Oregano - 1/2 teaspoon, fresh or dried
- Sea salt - 1/4 teaspoon
- Basil leaves - 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
- Parmesan cheese - 1 cup, grated
- Black pepper - Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the sliced eggplant in a colander and cover with salt. Using your hands, toss the eggplant so the salt is distributed throughout the slices. Leave the eggplant in the colander for 10 minutes, in the sink or over a bowl, to drain its bitter juices.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, sea salt, rosemary, thyme and oregano.
- Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with a tea towel or paper towel. Lay the eggplant on a cookie sheet. Using a pastry brush or spoon drizze the slices with the olive oil and herb mixture, coating both sides of each slice generously. Add more olive oil if you run out.
- Bake the eggplant for 10 minutes, flipping the slices after 5 minutes. When the eggplant are browned, remove them from the oven and set on top of the stove or a heat-proof work surface.
- Now you can begin to layer your dish. Spread several tomato slices along the bottom of your oven dish (which can be square or circle). Drizzle this layer with olive oil to prevent the tomatoes from sticking. Stack with a layer of eggplant, then basil, and about 1/3 of the Parmesan. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients.
- Put the Eggplant Parmesan in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the top layer is nicely browned and the cheese crisped.
- Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and enjoy!