Posted by: Maggie
I absolutely adore traditional eggplant parmesan, in all its heavy, cheesy, marinara-covered, fried glory.
In case you didn't notice from the picture, this is not traditional eggplant parmesan.
This is its deconstructed cousin, who is somewhat healthier, a lot crispier, just as scrumptious, and doesn't leave you in a cheese coma for 12 hours. Although, if I had to be in a coma, a cheese coma doesn't sound too bad.
Sidebar: I just stopped writing this post for 10 minutes while I googled "what is it like to be in a coma?"
I am now sufficiently freaked out, and can add comas to my list of things that I don't like thinking about. This list also includes: outer space, the size of the universe, the concept of infinity, the very real possibility of insects crawling into my ears while I sleep, and deep bodies of water that I can't see the bottom of.
Now that I've convinced all of you that I'm completely neurotic, here's the recipe!
2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 14.5 ounce cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Liberally salt eggplant slices on both sides with kosher salt, and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove slices from colander, blot with paper towels to remove salt and residual moisture, and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet, and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Lower heat to medium, and add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, and add in tomatoes (juices included.) Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and liquid has evaporated. Set aside until you're ready to prepare the stacks.
While the tomatoes are cooking, prepare your eggplant slices. Dredge the slices first in flour, then in egg whites, and lastly in panko, pressing to help the crumbs adhere. Place the breaded slices onto the wire rack, and repeat until you've used all the eggplant. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes each side, 20 minutes total.
Build the eggplant stacks on the wire rack: spoon desired amount of tomato sauce over an eggplant round, top with 2-3 leaves of basil, and then 1 slice of mozzarella cheese. Place another eggplant slice on top. Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds, and put back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef, originally from Simply Gluten-Free