Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Eggplant Parmigiana: Hold the Gluten

Eggplant Parmigiana is a family favorite, but we hadn't tried to recreate the pre-celiac version we so enjoyed because of all the bread crumbs involved. We've made ratatouille, eggplant rollantine, baba ghanoush, and other eggplant parmagiana recipes in a gluten-free mode, but we greatly missed the traditional layering of fried eggplant, marinara sauce and gooey mozzarella. After a little experimentation, I found a great way to prepare our favorite eggplant dish without the crumbs but with the same deliciousness. It helps that I used tender baby eggplants from our home garden rather than the Double D-cup wizened eggplants that one usually sees languishing in the produce aisle.

Here is a photo of this eggplant success, which I battled to take before it was wolfed down by my platoon of hungry monsters. The lovely aster and cosmos bouquet in the background harbors a Japanese beetle which I unknowingly brought in from the yard. See if you can spot him/her.

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 medium size eggplants, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick (sometimes I leave the skin on, the way I prefer it, but the other Jags don't like to eat it)
3 eggs, beaten well
4 cups marinara sauce
1 (l lb.) package of mozzarella, grated
Olive oil for frying
2/3 cup white rice flour
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Several sprigs fresh basil, sliced thinly

Place 1 cup of marinara in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish and spread to cover bottom.

Mix rice flour, Parmesan, oregano and garlic powder together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dip eggplant slices in beaten egg and then in rice flour/Parmesan mixture to coat.

Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in large frying pan. Fry eggplant in batches until golden brown. I found that medium high heat worked the best in keeping the eggplant slices from sticking to the pan. The rice flour coating does not absorb as much oil as the traditional bread crumbs, so this was a heart-healthy bonus. I didn't even feel that I needed to blot the eggplant on paper towels as was absolutely necessary with the bread crumb method of yore.

Place a layer of eggplant over sauce in baking pan. Throw on 1/3 of the grated mozzarella and maybe a little extra Parmesan if so inclined. I also had some roasted tomatoes on hand that I wanted to use up, so I stuck these in too. Top with some of the basil, more marinara and then repeat layers twice more as your eggplant is fried up.

Cover pan with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1/2 hour or until cheese is bubbly.

I've heard that Eggplant Parm improves with age, but leftovers don't last long in these parts.

Mangia bene.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Hi Rachel. This looks great! I've been craving eggplant parm and just purchased a few eggplants at the Farmer's Market. Can't wait to try this. I was just going to grill the eggplant, but it wouldn't really be the same, would it? Haha!
By the way, my blog has moved to the Times Union. http://blogs.timesunion.com/glutenfree/ I hope you get the chance to check it out!