I finally did the most suggested idea for what to do with an eggplant: make eggplant Parmesan. I went to a trusted source for basic recipes: Joy of Cooking. The weird thing about the newest edition of this cookbook is that it has so many basic recipes, that it often references other recipes in the recipe you're making. I'll just try to put it all together here, with my comments on what I had to change.
In the beginning, I thought the ingredients all laid out like this was so pretty, I had to take a picture. All of the ingredients are local (except the moz, which I could have found local if I thought of it), even the breadcrumbs, which are from challah bread maid with local eggs. Some of the tomatoes are even from my own garden.
4 to 6 servings
Fresh Tomato Sauce:
(I prepared this a couple of days before to reduce the amount of work)
Drain in a colander for 20 minutes:
5 large ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
Remove to a large bowl and stir in:
1/2 cup basil, oregano, or parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
1. Peel and cut into 1/2-inch slices or sticks:
1 medium eggplant
Whisk together in a shallow bowl:
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
Dredge the eggplant in:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Shake off the excess, dip in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, and dredge in:
1 1/4 cups fresh bread crumbs
Arrange the eggplant slices on a rack and let dry for 30 minutes. Heat in a large skillet over medium-high heat:
1/4 cup olive oil
Add as many eggplant slices as will fit without crowding and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. you may have to add more oil to fry the remaining batches. Season with:
Salt and black pepper to taste.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Coat a 17 x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with half of the tomato sauce (I used an 8 x 8-inch pan, cause for some reason I didn't have enough tomato sauce!). Arrange the fried eggplant slices in a single layer (I could only fit three thick slices), or slightly overlapping if necessary, on the baking sheet. Top with the remaining tomato sauce and:
2 teaspoons dried oregano (I used fresh, 1 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Combine and sprinkle over the eggplant:
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (6 ounces)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan
Sprinkle over the top:
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (oops, forgot that one)
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.