Monday, October 4, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiana Stack-Ups

My family is a big fan of the traditional eggplant parmigiana, but I was looking for a way to make it different. So I looked for some kind of eggplant parmigiana "stacks" and found a recipe from Chef Fabrizio Carro on Martha Stewart's website and ended up with a very yummy dinner.

Eggplant Parmigiana

3 medium eggplants (not more than 4-inches in diameter), sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1 cup flour
4 cups canola oil
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
6 ounces grated Pecorni Romano cheese (Original recipe called for Grana Padano, but this is what I had on hand)
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup packed basil leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups Tomato Sauce Recipe (below)

1. Lay eggplant slices in a single even layer on a rack set over rimmed baking sheets; generously season with salt. Let stand 15 minutes to release excess moisture; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge eggplant slices in flour, shaking off excess. In a large pot, heat canola oil to 300 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, add eggplant slices to hot oil and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain; repeat process with remaining eggplant.

3. Place mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and Parmesan cheeses in the bowl of a food processor; process until just combined. Add basil leaves and olive oil; process until well combined. Season with fine sea salt and pepper and transfer to a disposable pastry bag.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set six 4-by-3-inch round ring molds in a large shallow baking dish. Place a dollop of tomato sauce at the bottom of each ring mold. Top with a slice of eggplant. Cut a small hole from the bottom of the pastry bag and pipe a layer of cheese mixture on top of eggplant. Top with another dollop of sauce, followed by another slice of eggplant. Repeat process until you have reached the top of the ring mold or have created four layers, ending with a slice of eggplant. Top with a little tomato sauce.

5. Transfer to oven and bake until cheese is melted and eggplant is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Using a spatula, carefully transfer filled ring molds to individual serving plates. Carefully remove ring mold before serving.

Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally and taking care not to let sauce stick to the bottom of the pot, about 2 1/2 hours.

3. Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender, blend until smooth, adding basil leaves as you blend. Alternatively, working in batches, you can transfer tomato sauce to the jar of a conventional blender, adding basil leaves as you blend.

4. Season with salt and pepper and reheat to use immediately or let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to use, 3 to 5 days.

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