What’s my inspiration?
A big purple eggplant and a girls night…hehe! Plus, the guys were away in Mille Lacs for a Bachelor party, so that gives us girls the chance to cook something amazing. My husband will eat almost anything (I’m lucky), but some of these boys are picky, picky, picky! I’m sure eggplant isn’t on their list of new food items they are dying to try. But my girls love to try new things and this was our chance.
Now this vegetable may look intimidating, but with a good recipe, they are quite delicious. I have made this dish before and it was good, but we made a few tweaks this time around and now it’s right on. Even though this is a vegetarian dish, it is very hearty and almost tastes as though there is meat in it.
We served it with Jeannes amazing spicy turkey meatballs and some grilled chile cheddar bread from Great Harvest Bread Company.
So don’t be scared by this lovely purple vegi, I promise you will enjoy this dish.
What you need:
- 1 large eggplant – sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 box Panko Bread Crumbs – Italian Style
- Canola Oil – for frying
- 1 jar Marinara Sauce (Try Rao’s, its AMAZING!)
- 1 -2 large balls of fresh mozzarella – sliced
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil – julienned
- Prep all ingredients – slice eggplant and mozzarella, julienne basil
- Put flour, egg and panko in 3 separate, shallow dishes
- Bread eggplant one by one – coat in flour, dip in egg and coat in panko. Set aside on plate
- Heat oil until shimmering
- Fry eggplant in oil until browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes / side). Do not burn or over cook. You will need to do this step in batches.
- In 9×13 oven safe dish, layer eggplant, slices of mozzarella cheese, basil and sauce. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used (Layer just like you are making a lasagna).
- Cover with tin foil and bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is hot.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5-10 minutes. Cut and enjoy!