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Crispy Eggplant – Oven-Style!

La Vie Piquant

La vie piquant—the spicy life!  Everyday is filled with “piquant” moments that are pleasantly stimulation of exciting to the mind.  Whether it is in the form of food, style, design, love, entertaining, or any other inspiring idea or tangible object, “it” should be celebrated!  Here I will be sharing with you simple, beautiful, realistic, doable, and truly re-creatable recipes, entertaining ideas, and home décor pizzazz that will help you interject a little bit of “piquant” into your life – after all, we only live once.  Join me in living la vie piquant!

Crispy Eggplant – Oven-Style!

Marc J. Sievers

Eggplant Parmesan was a dish my great-grandmother on my daddy's side would prepare what seemed like daily!  She was no taller than 4'11", wore big '60s framed glasses (think Sophia Petrillo) that teetered on the end of her nose, and she always wore a smock.  My great-grandmother was the matriarch of the kitchen, and beyond!

Crispy eggplant medallions pair perfectly with my Spicy Marinara Sauce!

I remember, when I was a little boy, she would always give me two things:  A crisp dollar bill, and these amazing hard candies that she kept in the front coat closet in a tin, tucked away on the top shelf.  She knew my favorite things to eat were Italian rolls smeared with butter, instant mashed potatoes (tinted yellow from all the butter), and her fried eggplant and homemade sauce!  She was a lovely woman with the heart and soul of an Italian saint.

While I do love to pan fry my eggplant, just as my great-grandmother did, I thought I would create a lighter (and perhaps a bit more healthy) version of this classic recipe!  The oven is the perfect alternative to standing over a pan on the stove top.  While I have a recipe for Crispy Eggplant Parmesan in my new cookbook, Entertaining with Love, that is a perfect indulgent meal, this baked version is a great weeknight entrée!  I've even included my recipe for a truly FABULOUS, yet super simple, spicy marinara sauce!  Cheers to all the great-and-grandmothers out there!


Crispy Eggplant

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Eggplant – 1 large, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch think
  • Bread Crumbs – 1 cup, unseasoned
  • White Pepper – ½ teaspoon
  • Kosher Salt – ¾ teaspoon
  • Oregano – 1 teaspoon, dried
  • Basil – 1 teaspoon, dried
  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons
  • Egg – 1, extra large, lightly beaten
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Parmesan – ⅓ cup, as garnish

Directions

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Combine the egg and milk in a shallow bowl.
  3. Next, add the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and spices in another shallow bowl.  Stir to combined.
  4. Pour the olive oil into the base of a half sheet pan, then spread the oil to cover the entire pan.  Set aside.
  5. Dip each slice of eggplant into the dry mixture, then the wet mixture, and then again in the dry mixture.  Place onto the prepared sheet pan.  Repeat process until all slices of eggplant have been coated.
  6. Next, place the sheet pan into the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Flip the eggplant and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the eggplant is browned and crisp.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sauce

Ingredients

  • Yellow Onion –  ½ cup, finely minced
  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced
  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – ¼ teaspoon, or to taste
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Basil – ⅓ cup, finely minced
  • San Marzano Tomatoes – 1 (28-ounce) can, crushed

Directions

  1. Start by heating the olive oil in a medium sauté pan set over medium-low heat
  2. Add the onion, crushed red pepper flakes, and pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, so that the onions are tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Serve immediately.

Tip: You can also store in an air right container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!