Hooray! It’s time to Get Bitchin’ In The Kitchen, which means I’ll be sharing a new Random Single Gal Recipe every day for the next two weeks. The only thing that makes these recipes perfect for single gals is that you should feel free to make it for yourself and only yourself, if you so choose. After all, as a single gal myself, that’s how I cook. First up, my simple but mouth-watering and delicious eggplant parm. It’s a messy and labor intensive endeavor, but well-worth the effort.
Recipe serves one hungry single gal for, like, four days.
Please note: these measurements are somewhat approximate and are subject to change slightly based on how big your eggplants are. Be prepared to adjust slightly and/or have some extra eggplant left over.
- 2 medium eggplants, slice into 1/3-inch circles
- 4 cups marinara sauce (see below for my recipe or you can use jarred marinara)
- 3-4 large eggs (start with three, add a fourth if needed)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 big ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
- olive oil
- Toss eggplant circles with about 1.5 tsps. of salt in a colander set over a bowl and let drain the eggplant’s liquid drain for 30 minutes. If you skip this step, your cooked eggplant will be rubbery and nasty.
- While the eggplant is draining, gather three shallow bowls or tupperware containers. In Bowl #1, stir together the flour, a little less than 1/4 tsp. of salt, and some freshly ground pepper. In Bowl #2, crack and whisk the eggs. In Bowl #3, combine the panko with 1/3 of a cup parmesan. Also have a big plate ready nearby.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Start heating your marinara sauce until it comes to a slow simmer.
- One by one, work a eggplant slice through the assembly line. First coat both sides of the eggplant with flour, then dip both sides in the egg, and then finally coat both sides lightly with the panko/parmesan mixture. Set the eggplant carefully on the plate and repeat this process with all the other eggplant slices. (You’ll be cooking them in batches of four, so once you’ve prepped your fourth slice, you can start heating your pan. See next step.) I recommend trying to use one hand so both don’t get totally messy. You may need to de-gunk your hand midway through as your fingers start to get sticky with batter,
- Heat about 1.5 cups of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot, then fry 4 slices of eggplant at a time. Turn them only once, until they’re golden brown on both sides (it should take about five minutes in total). Set the slices on a paper towel to drain and continue this process of dipping and frying until all of your eggplant slices are fried.
- For this amount of eggplant, you’ll need a deep baking dish, around 10 x 10 (or, you know, use what you have, even if you split it up between two smaller ones). Spread about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish and then arrange fried eggplant slices in a single layer. Cover with another helping of sauce, then add slice of mozzarella over each saucy piece of eggplant. Continue layering with the rest of the eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with the rest of the parmesan.
- Bake, uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has completely melted. Let stand for five minutes before serving.
- Plate, eat, burp, rub belly, and applaud your hard work. Eat leftovers for the next few days.
MY SIMPLE MARINARA SAUCE
- 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 16 oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 medium sized yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- olive oil
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- sugar (optional), to taste
- In a medium sized pot, saute onion and garlic, with two pinches of salt, some fresh pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, in 2 tsps. of olive oil until onion is clear.
- Add crushed and diced tomatoes. Stir, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes based on how you like it. It’s also possible that if the tomatoes are tart, you might want to add sugar — in small doses until you’ve got it just right — to sweeten the sauce up a bit.
- That’s it. Told you it was simple.