Italian Recipe
Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 4
Recipe by: Chef John V.
Prep time: about 1 hour total

For the eggplant---

1 whole eggplant, medium to large in size
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp, milk
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Cut eggplant lengthwise into 8 slices. Beat egg with milk parmesan cheese salt and pepper. Dip and coat the eggplant slices in flour and then into the beaten egg mixture. Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat and then add 1/2 of the olive oil followed by 1/2 of the eggplant. Fry on each side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. Drain the slices on paper towels.

For the sauce---

2 tablespoons olive oil, not extra-virgin
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1 pinch cayenne
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes in puree, Pastene brand is very good!---or San Marzano Plum Tomatoes*
4 ounces water to rinse out the can
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

Warm the garlic in the oil to release the aroma (1 minute on low heat, donít brown). First add pepper, fennel, cayenne and oregano, then the tomatoes rinsing out the can followed by the salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer partially covered for 10 minutes---stir occasionally.

* Note: If using San Marzano tomatoes, then briefly liquefy them using an immersion blender or pass the entire sauce through a food mill to puree.

Finishing the dish---

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 4 slices of eggplant on a baking pan, top with 2 ounces of sauce and sprinkle each with 1 tbsp. parmesan cheese. Top each with another slice of eggplant and 2 ounces of sauce. Top all 4 portions with 1/4 cup grated mozzarella. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until hot and the cheese has melted. Enjoy! Serve as is or with pasta and or even on crusty Italian bread. Chef's secret---a little fresh chopped parsley sprinkled on the eggplant before serving really improves the flavor!