First Do No Harm

Eggplant (Almost) Parmesan

Ingredients

2 Good Sized Eggplants
Cup Celtic Sea Salt (for soaking over night IF frying)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil (if frying)

1 or 2 bottles (cans) your favorite Organic Tomato Sauce
OR
Homemade Tomato Marinara Sauce

Cheeses
(at least one, or a mixture, up to you)
Parmesan  Cheese
Mozzarella
Romano
Cheddar
Monterey Jack
Asiago

Spices (if you've not made your own Marinara sauce or you just want extra spicing)
Basil
Oregano
Thyme
Celtic Sea Salt
Black Pepper or Cayenne Pepper to taste

The cheese grater in this photo has been in my family since before I was born. It could easily be over eighty years old.

Note: The skin of the eggplant is tough, and even cooked, hard to cut with a fork. Some people peel the eggplant but there is just so much nutrition you're throwing away. So, if you fry it up, you'll want to slice the skin every half inch or so around the slices. If you are baking (second method), you can cut the skins prior to baking.

Prepare the eggplant. 

First Method:

We're going to fry the eggplant in a mixture of olive oil and coconut oil. The problem with eggplant is that it absorbs a lot of oil, so much so, while frying up a batch in Israel, my  Moroccan teacher (she taught me cooking and Hebrew at the same time) told me this ancient story.

One way to fry it up without using as much oil, is to slice up the eggplant the night before, and soak in salt water. To a half gallon of water, and about a quarter cup Celtic Sea Salt. Place the slices in the water, put a couple of plates on top to hold the slices under the water. This is just one way to keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil. There are others.

One problem with eating eggplant is that the skin is hard to cut through, so first we're going to fry them up lightly in a combination of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil. You want to fry them up just till they start to brown, then lay them out over paper towels, with a layer of paper towels on top. However, when you lay them out, every half inch to inch, slice the skin with a knife or kitchen scissors. This will just make eating the eggplant a bit easier. 

As you can guess from the list of ingredients, there is not much measuring in this recipe. You get to make it the way you like it.

Note: Normally, you would fry up the eggplant in a batter with bread or cracker crumbs. I no longer cook carbohydrates at high temps; I'm not too crazy about the extra carcinogens in my food nor am I crazy about eating high glycemic carbs with fats.

Second Method:

Slice up the eggplants and cut the skins (because they're tough). Grease your baking sheet with a bit of coconut oil, lay out the eggplant slices (I like to overlap them), and bake for 35 - 40 minutes at about 340 degrees. (Though we haven't bought into the lipid hypothesis and the low fat fad, this method has a LOT fewer calories ... as you can guess.)

Next get out a cake pan (casserole dish); I prefer Pyrex (as you can see in the image above). We'll start with a light layer of sauce so the eggplant slices don't stick to the bottom.

Lay out a layer of eggplant slices. Cover lightly in sauce, sprinkle the spices over (if not using your own marinara sauce or you just want extra spices), and then sprinkle the cheese over that.

Then create another layer of eggplant and repeat the rest up till you have filled the cake pan. You can make your cheese layer thick like pizza, or like I prefer: just a sprinkle of Romano, Parmesan, and Asiago cheeses topped with crushed red pepper.

Bake at 340 for about half an hour, and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top, then cool a bit, and serve. This is the simplest Eggplant Parmesan recipe you'll ever find.


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