Mama’s Eggplant Parmigana

28 Jul

Never underestimate the wisdom of your mother, including her thoughts on summertime vegetables. Recently I reluctantly helped make eggplant parmesan with my mom for a family dinner. Why reluctantly? Because I hate eggplant.

At Dupont Farmer's market. 3 weeks ago this scene would have disgusted me

I have always found eggplant stringy, mushy and tasteless…until I tried my mom’s recipe. It was crisp, flavorful and meaty. I can’t believe I have been missing out on the joy of eggplant parmesan for all these years!

As my sister mentioned (the Spector clan loves to chime in on this topic) the key to good eggplant is that it has to be in season. The same goes for tomatoes or any other produce that reaches its peak in the summer and then poses as its  former self in grocery aisles all year long. Proper produce procedure is in my blood – my family recently had a spirited debate on our listserve about the official start to peach season. My dad prevailed – mid to late July.

After my eyeopening experience with my mom’s eggplant parmesan, I decided to try and recreate the magic for myself.  I came upon the most beautiful eggplant at the Dupont farmer’s market, grabbed some canned tomatoes, breadcrumbs, mozzarella and basil and dove right in.

Eggplant varietals

Cut into thick slices

Coat eggplant in egg, then breadcrumbs

After you coat all the eggplant, create a single layer in a baking dish and cook at 350 for 10 minutes. Then remove the eggplant from the oven, flip them over and put them back in the oven to cook for another 10 minutes. Once the eggplant is tender (test with a fork) remove from oven and cover with good canned tomatoes (I used Muir Glen but I also love San Marzano).

Top with mozzarella, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Back in the oven until the cheese gets nice and gooey

Dig in!

The recipe could not have been easier or more scrumptious. It is the perfect summertime meal and a great way to go meatless without having to deprive yourself of flavor or texture. Now I know to use in season eggplant and never doubt my mama again.

Thanks mom!

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One Response to “Mama’s Eggplant Parmigana”

  1. lovelylici1986 July 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm #

    YUMMMMM! I neeeed to make this. Now, if I could just find eggplant…

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