This is the real deal, y’all. Use all fresh ingredients, and you will never turn back.
Note: This recipe, unlike others on our website, serves more than two people. This one serves 8 as a first course, or 4 as a main course…so keep that in mind as you look at the prices!
1 medium sized eggplant $1.49
3 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided $free (ish)
2 large eggs $0.23
5 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan* $0.25
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder $free (ish)
1/3 teaspoon freshly ground pepper $free (ish)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil $2.10 ($1.6o for the cup of regular, $.50 for the 2 T of good stuff)
8 fresh basil leaves $free (from your herb garden!)
1 clove garlic $0.10
1-2 fresh, large tomatoes $1.20
Total Cost for 4 main courses= $5.37
Cut off just the tip and end of the eggplant, and stand it upright on a cutting board. Cutting down the eggplant, make 1/4″ to 1/2″ slices (will yield 8-10 slices). Layer the slices on a plate, sprinkling both sides of each slice with a total of 1 teaspoon of the salt. Let stand for 30 minutes (while you make the sauce!)
For the tomato sauce, dice the tomatoes and place them in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the tomatoes to a boil (their own juices will make this more liquid-y than you might expect). Once the tomatoes reach a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes are really soft and have reduced in volume (about 8 minutes). Slowly add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the tomatoes and stir. Add the garlic clove, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Continue to cook, uncovered, for 3-5 more minutes. Tear 5 of the basil leaves into pieces and stir them into the sauce. (Taste the sauce at this point and add more seasonings as desired. When satisfied, remove the pan from the heat and set aside, partially covered.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with several layers of paper towels and set aside. In a shallow pan or bowl, mix together the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the cheese, garlic powder, a dash or two of pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Set aside.
Rinse the eggplant under running water to remove the salt. Next, blot the eggplant completely dry with paper towels (not the ones in the baking sheet!)
In a big skillet, heat 2 cups of good olive oil over medium-high heat (Wait until the oil is hot before starting the next step.) Working in batches, dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixutre and, allowing the excess to drip off, slip them into the hot oil. Fry the eggplant lightly (3-5 minutes). Flip the eggplant and fry the other side. Using tongs, transfer the fried eggplant slices to the prepared baking sheet, which will soak up excess oil. Repeat until all eggplant slices are fried.
Coat a 8 by 8″ pan (or 9 by 13″!) with cooking spray. Using a few eggplant pieces, make one single layer of eggplant on the bottom of the pan. Spread some sauce on top of these pieces. Create as many layers of eggplant and sauce as you can with the eggplant that you have.
Bake for about 10 minutes (a knife inserted into the eggplant comes out clean and piping hot.) Top the eggplant with the rest of the parmesan cheese and bake until the cheese melts (about 5-10 more minutes). Remove from oven. Tear the remaining basil leaves into pieces, scatter them on top, and ENJOY!
*We used parmesan for a lighter dish, but for a more cheesy dish you can top the eggplant parmesan with fresh mozarella slices.
(This picture is from day 2 of eggplant parmesan…so that’s why it is in a smaller baking dish.)
If it weren’t for making eggplant parmesan, we wouldn’t have our beautiful new header picture, which is a cropped version of what you see below.
And here is a tomato to make you happy – summer is coming!