Microwaved Eggplant Parmesan

16 Dec

Ingredients:

  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
  • Eggplant
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Basil

I’m not sure that I would really describe this recipe as an Eggplant Parmesan.  It is more of an Eggplant Lasagna to me.  Either way it’s really good!  Everyone that I’ve told about this recipe has had about the same reaction though.  “Why wouldn’t you just bake it?”  Speed is the answer!  I had this recipe completed start to finish in 45 minutes which was the time estimate noted in the book.  This was amazing to me considering I had a 2-year-old as my sous chef and no one else was home.  And believe me, from wanting to be held to wanting me to watch Blue’s Clues with her, she did absolutely everything she could to make sure I didn’t get to make this.  The really great thing about this recipe though is that it can be made ahead of time.  You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days and in the freezer for up to six months.  And when you’re ready to make it, it only takes about six minutes in the microwave (maybe a bit longer depending on your microwave and how cold the dish is) as opposed to 45 minutes to an hour in the oven!  Awesome!

So let’s get right down to it.  I mixed equal parts of the panko bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and put that in my toaster oven for about five minutes.  The recipe wanted me to preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 10 minutes, but since I had the toaster oven I just used that.  I think you could also use regular bread crumbs instead of the panko style.  The panko bread crumbs are just a little lighter.  Either should work though.  Just use what you have on hand.

While the bread/cheese mixture was baking, I sliced the eggplant into about 1/4″ thick slices and put them in a single layer onto a paper towel lined plate.  I did manage to find a plate large enough to fit all the slices, but next time I will be working in batches.  The plate was so big that it wouldn’t actually rotate in the microwave, and I found that since I ended up making my Eggplant Parmesan in a 8″ casserole dish instead of a 5″ one like the recipe suggested I needed more eggplant than what I had.  Lessons learned for next time!  So after all the eggplant slices are on the plate, I sprinkled them with salt, covered them with more paper towels, and put them in microwave for about three and a half minutes.  

After that’s done, remove the paper towels and wipe down the plate.  The recipe said to use a clean plate which I thought was just silly.  Why dirty another dish?  Put the eggplant back on the plate and brush with olive oil on both sides.  Cover with plastic wrap (suitable for use in the microwave) and cook until they are tender all the way through, about four minutes.  Again, work in batches if you need to.

From here out you assemble the dish much like a lasagna.  In the bottom of your microwave safe casserole dish spread a generous amount of marinara sauce.  I used store bought just because it was easy, but please feel free to use your homemade marinara if you have it.  There is actually a recipe for marinara sauce in The Modernist Cuisine that I’ll be trying at some point.  I just honestly didn’t have time to make it this week.  Anyway, after that place a single layer of eggplant on top of the marinara sauce followed by a third of the ricotta cheese, sliced mozzarella, and fresh basil.  The recipe does have measurements for how much to use here, but I didn’t use them.  I just added enough so that it looked right.  Maybe that’s not the best way to go but meh…that’s what I did.  Cooking is subjective anyway!  🙂

Repeat this setup until you have three layers and top with any extra marinara sauce you may have.  Then top it with the cheesy bread crumbs.  At this point you can cover it and put in the refrigerator or freezer for later, but I went ahead and cooked mine in the microwave until it was hot and bubbly.  Since everything is already cooked, all you’re looking for is the dish to be heated through.  You’ll probably want it to let it cool for a few minutes before serving, but that’s it!

eggplant parm

Yummy Eggplant Parm!

To me, this is a wonderful meal for weeknights, especially if made ahead of time and especially for people who are busy like me!  I will definitely be making this again.  My husband was amazed that it was made completely in the microwave since he wasn’t here when I made it.  H said it tasted like it came out of the oven, and I completely agree!  Our daughter absolutely loved all the cheese, but I think the eggplant was a little too bitter for her taste.  She did try it though, which is definitely progress over last week’s recipe!  We’ll see how it goes next week when I’ll be making something from the Mac and Cheese chapter!  How exciting!  But until then…

Bon Appetit!

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