Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grilled Eggplant Parm

Mr. Lawyer's mom makes a banging eggplant parm that he is absolutely in love with. Obviously I would never attempt making it because it will result in horrible comparisons (from Mr. Lawyer) and tears (um, from me). I saw this lightened up eggplant parm recipe and thought "well...I could probably pull it off because it's a completely different recipe." Plus I've been craving all sorts of fresh veggies and this recipe fit the bill. 
Man oh man was it a hit! The only thing left is the bits of burnt cheese stuck to the pan. I followed the recipe and used a grill pan but I imagine that using a real grill would add some amazing flavor. It was a great summery dish. I loved the pop and freshness of the tomatoes, the gooeyness of the cheese, and the slight spice from the red pepper-basil mixture.
Grilled Eggplant Parm
(adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
4 large plum tomatoes, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely shredded basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
6 ounces Fontina cheese, thinly sliced (I used mozzarella)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1. Salt your eggplant! It will make your eggplant less bitter. Sprinkle salt over eggplant slices and let sit for 20-30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry. While your eggplant is being salted, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and red pepper flakes.
2. Preheat the oven to 450° and heat a grill pan. Brush the eggplant and tomato slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Grill the eggplant in batches over moderately high heat, turning once, until softened and lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Grill the tomatoes, turning once, until lightly charred but still intact, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the shredded basil to the red pepper-olive oil mixture. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In the center, arrange half of the eggplant in a 9-inch square, overlapping the slices slightly. Top with half of the grilled tomatoes, basil mixture, parmesan and fontina/mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese.
4. Bake in the center of the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread.
All layered up and ready to go!

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