Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oven-Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

This Eggplant Parmesan went to the nutritionist, and discovered she was a healthy dish. She realized she didn't need to be battered and fried to feel good about herself. She learned about the wonders of oven-roasting, which made her feel confident in her vibrant, rich personality. She became close friends with rosemary and garlic, who encouraged her new-found appreciation for her own nutrient potential. She danced into the oven, enlightened and sprightly, and emerged feeling lithe and reborn, bursting with flavor!

This Eggplant Parmesan's creator, Astra, is herself feeling utterly loopy and silly, having worked last night, returned home, and then decided to forgo a nap, but while she is experiencing unexplained urges to rhyme, burst into song, and write silly narratives about personified eggplants, and while she is no longer quite sure about things such as directionality, longitude and latitude, and the difference between the floor and the ceiling, she is quite certain that this light, healthful eggplant casserole she fixed on Sunday night was a tremendous success...

Oven-Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tsp za'atar or 1 tsp oregano
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
1 bay leaf
2 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan

~ Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
~ Slice the eggplant in half length-wise, then thinly slice each half, to create thin half-moons of eggplant.
~ Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
~ Roast the eggplant slices in the upper 1/3 of the oven until they are browned and tender, but still hold their shape well (aka not mushy).
~ Reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees F.
~ In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is limp and translucent.
~ Reduce the heat to medium, pour in the red wine, and stir for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom of the skillet to remove any browned bits.
~ Stir in the tomatoes, followed by the za'atar or oregano, and the rosemary, basil, and bay leaf. Let the sauce simmer lightly for a few minutes, just until the herbs are fragrant. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
~ To assemble the eggplant Parmesan, spread a light coating of the tomato sauce across the bottom of an 8X8 baking pan. Place the lasagna noodles on top of the sauce (this will give your final dish a more stable base). Spread 1/3 of the remaining sauce on top of the lasagna noodles. Sprinkle the sauce with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 T Parmesan cheese. Layer half of the eggplant slices in the pan next, overlapping them just a bit. Pour 1/3 of the sauce over the eggplant slices, followed by 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 T Parmesan cheese. For the final layer, place the remaining half of the eggplant slices, topped with the remaining 1/3 of the sauce, and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
~ Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes - until the top of the dish is golden and bubbling... Let the eggplant Parmesan sit outside of the oven for 10 minutes to set, then serve warm...


MelindaRD said...

Awesome idea. I did mine a few weeks back and baked it, but you layered your diferently and I think I would like to give that a try next time.

VeggieGirl said...

Hehe, love the personification ;) Excellent meal!

Beth said...

I like that you used the fire roasted tomatoes instead of tomato sauce.

I think it's cute that you're talking as the eggplant, but I hope you're also getting some sleep!

Gina said...

The eggplant parmesan's nutritionist was very smart!! And look at the great healthier creation that came out of it :) It sounds delicious, and I love your modifications. I almost bought some eggplant today, but didn't, darn it!

Cucinista said...

A definite success. And feel free to rhyme or sing about eggplant any time, I say.

Sangeetha Subhash said...

I love eggplant, but usually just bake it with some spices and serve it.. I love the idea of using it with parmesan- sounds great! I am trying this for sure.

Bellini Valli said...

I agree that this was a huge success!!!!

Jamie said...

You are so funny! This looks excellent, mm rosemary...

Adam said...

Dude, you have eggplants and cheese, this is perfect after a hard day at work. Nutritious, delicious, and fun :)

And cute story... I'm just trying to figure out if an eggplant can really dance and talk though :)

Susan said...

We are often scolded by scientists not to anthropomorphize animals who are not human - what would they say about eggplant?!? : D

Very funny, Astra...but seriously, your roasted eggplant is an excellent idea, a lot lighter and easier than oiling up the skillet

stephchows said...

hehe awesome!! love eggplant parm :)

Karine said...

Cute post!

If I were the eggplant, I would be happy to be roasted instead of deep-fried:)

Sophia said...

Sorry, eggplant, but you're going to be very happy in my belly, yes?

Kerstin said...

Cute post :) Your lightened up eggplant parm is right up my alley, I love eggplant!