I was lucky to go to the beach with my husband's family last week. And, as usual, my mother-in-law brought along her copy of Real Simple magazine.
As I usually do, I thumbed through it, pouring over the recipes and promising myself that I'd make more than one. They look so good! And, as you might expect, seem really simple!
I usually never get around to it. But one ... a simple recipe for deep-dish eggplant Parmesan ... grabbed my interest. I love eggplant. And I love eggplant Parmesan. A friend makes the classic dish for her family all the time, dredging the eggplant slices in egg and bread crumbs and frying them before baking them with sauce and cheese in the oven.
I don't have time for that. And I'm not a big fan of frying things. I can never get the pan just right. I end up with little dots of oil all over my shirt and a smelly kitchen.
But this recipe requires no frying, making it a healthier version of the casserole. Real Simple included it in a two-page spread that featured 10 ideas for using fresh mozzarella.
So when I found two eggplants for $1 on the cheap produce cart at Harris Teeter the day we got back from the beach and realized that we'd brought home a hunk of mozzarella cheese that wasn't used up during our giant family meals there, I knew exactly what I'd do with it.
I'll be the first to admit that my husband and older daughter, who don't like eggplant, were not lovers of this dish. But when my three-year-old bit into it, her first word was "Yummy!"
I'll take that.
Deep-Dish Eggplant Parmesan from Real Simple
Click here to see other recipes from the magazine, including some good looking summer salads
Two medium eggplants
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups marinara sauce
12 ounces sliced mozzarella
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (I didn't have this on hand so skipped it)
Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, keeping the skin on. Place on rimmed baking sheets and brush with the olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.
In an 8-inch baking dish, layer first the eggplant, then sauce and cheeses. Repeat. I ended up with three layers. Top with the bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for another 30 minutes.
Because I knew that my husband and older daughter probably weren't going to love it, I served it with a side of spaghetti, along with carrots and bell pepper slices.
Go Ask Mom features recipes every Friday. Check WRAL.com's recipe database for more.