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Dover Post
  • A little bit of Italy in your own home

  • Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes to order at Italian restaurants, but I’ve found that it varies a lot. Sometimes it’s a delicious plate of perfectly crisp eggplant rounds topped with a delicious sauce and just enough mozzarella to add a touch of richness. But then sometimes, it’s soggy, greasy ...
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  • Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite dishes to order at Italian restaurants, but I’ve found that it varies a lot. Sometimes it’s a delicious plate of perfectly crisp eggplant rounds topped with a delicious sauce and just enough mozzarella to add a touch of richness. But then sometimes, it’s soggy, greasy eggplant drowned in sauce and covered in a mountain of cheese. Eventually, I got tired of hit or miss eggplant parm and decided to take matters into my own hands.
    When I made this recipe last week, I used white eggplant, which I found at the Riverwalk Farmers Market in Milford. If you don’t like the bitter flavor that sometimes comes from eggplant then using white eggplant is your best bet. White eggplant is the more kid-friendly option in my opinion. But personally, I prefer the bitter edge that comes from regular eggplant because it adds contrast.
    To go along with the eggplant parm, I made pesto cheesy bread. This side dish is simple and addictively delicious. Using jarred pesto also makes it easy. I love this bread because the fresh, savory taste of the pesto helps to lighten up what potentially could be a very heavy, cheese-laden side dish. Seeing as we are in the peak of summer, if you have homemade pesto on hand feel free to use it.
    I think every good Italian-inspired meal should be paired with a good Italian cocktail. The Aperol spritz is typically served before dinner as an aperitif, but I have enjoyed quite a few of these alongside meals, as well. Aperol is an orange liqueur that can be found in most liquor stores alongside the Campari. The bitter flavor paired with crisp Prosecco is about as refreshing as it gets.
    Hopefully these recipes will inspire you to make Italian takeout at home.
     
    To contact Sarah Barban, email her at sarah.barban@doverpost.com.
     
    Eggplant Parmesan
    1 eggplant
    1 onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, crushed
    2 teaspoons oregano
    2 teaspoons basil
    28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    6-ounce can tomato paste
    1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, divided
    1 cup bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    3 eggs
    2 cups mozzarella cheese
    1 cup olive oil
    1 pound pasta
     
    Place the onion and garlic in a large pot. Add in the herbs and allow them to cook until the onions turn translucent. Add the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes to the pot. Stir and allow the sauce to simmer for 30 minutes on low heat. Cut the two ends off the eggplant and then cut the remainder in half short ways. Using a mandolin slicer set to a quarter-inch thickness, slice the eggplant using the hand guard, one half at a time. In a bowl, whisk the three eggs. Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and rest of the Italian seasoning on a plate. Using one hand, dredge rounds of eggplant in the egg and then use your other hand, dredge the rounds in the bread crumbs before placing them on a cookie sheet. Heat a quarter cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Working in batches, fry the eggplant until golden brown, replenishing the olive oil after each round. Once the eggplant is fried, move it back to the cookie sheet in a single layer. Turn on your broiler. Place a spoonful of sauce onto each round of eggplant, reserving some sauce for serving. Top each round with cheese and then place them under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Cook the pasta. Serve the eggplant over pasta. Serves 4.
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    Pesto Cheesy Bread
    1 loaf Italian bread
    8-ounce jar pesto or homemade pesto
    2 cups mozzarella cheese
     
    Turn on your broiler. Cut the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Spread the pesto evenly over the two halves and top with the cheese. Place the bread on a cookie sheet and place it under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serves 8.
     
    Aperol Spritz
    1 shot Aperol
    Prosecco
     
    Place a few ice cubes in a glass. Pour in the Aperol and then fill the rest of the glass with Presecco. Serves 1.

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