Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana Persuasion & the 7 Deadly Zins

Before you begin
to make this fabulous recipe, pour yourself a glass of this!!

Recognize the label? It's Michael-David Winery's Seven Deadly Zins. Always a go-to Zinfandel to grab if you are not sure what red wine to buy (it's widely available and most red wine drinkers I know like it).

Here's the rundown of the wine: It's an Old Vine Zinfandel blended with small
amounts of Petit Sirah and Petit Verdot then aged in American oak. 14.5% alcohol.

After you have poured the vino, get yourself cooking, because this one takes about an hour to an hour and a half--especially if you are making a big salad to go with it like I did. :)

Oh yes, I forgot to mention we'll also be using the wine IN the tomato sauce!

1 large eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion chopped or sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes (strained)
1/2 bottle of Michael David Seven Deadly Zins
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 parsely
Your favorite Italian herbs
Fresh basil (chiffonade)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

(if you are going to bake your recipe and skip the frying, preheat your oven to 400-425° first)

1. Slice the eggplant crosswise (I had the longer eggplants, so I sliced them lengthwise) into 1/2 inch rounds. Salt the eggplant liberally and lay flat on paper towels and place paper towels over the top of the eggplant. Set a serving plate or something heavy and flat over the top of them (glass baking dish works well).

2. While the eggplant is draining, heat some oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook them until translucent. Add the tomatoes and the wine. Crush the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon and blend in with the wine. Season with salt and pepper, and add the red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 minutes so the sauce will reduce.

3. Pat the eggplant slices dry. Pour the flour into one bowl. Beat the eggs with a little salt and pepper in the second bowl. In a third bowl, mix together
the panko, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, oregano, the other Italian herbs/spices you picked, and just a little salt. Remember, we salted the heck out of the eggplants, so we won't need much in the breading. Dredge the eggplant slices first through the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip eggplant in the egg and then in the panko. Set aside on a wire rack.

4. (If you choose to fry your eggplants, follow step 4a). Place your breaded eggplant slices in a lightly oiled baking dish (spray them with cooking spray to get them extra crispy) and bake at 400° for 10 mins, then flip them and bake them for 5-7 more mins. After you take out the eggplant, bak the temperature in the oven down to 375°.

4a. Pour canola oil into a large skillet and get the oil hot enough so that water drops will sizzle in it. Cook the eggplant slices until golden brown and crisp. Set
aside to drain.

5. I find if you spread the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, the eggplants you worked so hard to get crispy get soggy. No good. So I just layer the cooked eggplants on the bottom of a baking dish and then spread the tomato sauce over them. Then, sprinkle Parmesan over the tomato sauce. Place the mozzarella slices on top of the eggplant. Cook for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and is golden brown.

6. When you take it out of the oven, top it with the fresh basil. Serve with spaghetti or shirataki noodles (that is my lo-cal substitute.)

Fried Version

Baked Version

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