Monday, May 11, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan Casserole - Killing Two Food Wishes with One Delicious Stone

I've received a ton of requests for eggplant Parmesan, and I finally got around to filming my "low-fat" version. Speaking of requests, the most common request I get is for fried foods - fried chicken, onion rings, tempura, french fries, et al - and I always send the same basic reply; great fried foods requires a large commercial deep fryer to really give you the results you crave.

You can do a few things small scale at home with a fry-daddy, but for the most part those deep-fried delicacies you want me to demo are best ordered out. Normally, eggplant Parmesan would fall under this "needs to be fried to be good" category, but in this video recipe you'll see my method for a much easier casserole-style version.

One problem with eggplant is they soak up and incredible amount of oil. They can't help it, it's their nature. To counter this, we reserve the crispiness for the top crust. By using a nice thick layer of crunchy Parmesan breadcrumbs, we get a very similar fork full of food, but at significant caloric savings. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
2 eggplants
olive oil as needed
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup shredded pepper Jack
salt and pepper to taste
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 cups tomato sauce (prepared pasta sauce is best)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
for the topping:
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp olive oil

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

Eggplant are so beautiful. I keep buying them at my local farmers market and bringing them home because they are so pretty, but I haven't found a way to use them yet that I like. I will try your recipe this weekend!

Anonymous said...

Looks great! I love eggplant parmesan but have never been able to reproduce it at home so I'm excited about this.

One question--when you say tomato sauce, do you mean like jarred pasta sauce or plain tomato sauce?

Thanks,
Jaclie

Chef John said...

use a nice pasta sauce

wsmierzynski said...

hi! you use a lot of cheese! how is this going to affect my cholesterol levels? :) seriously :)

Chef John said...

I can't pretend to be concerned about your cholesterol levels. ;-)

soreal said...

there is a way to reduce the amount of oil absorbed by eggplants
the trick is to soak them in salted water for a few hour before cooking them..


then when u fry them, dont drop them in cold oil

if after doing so the oil still being absorbed, you need to increase the amount of salt in the soaking water

btw, it works too on potatos

Jesse said...

Where did 17.4 come from?

Chef John said...

where most of my stats come from...I made it up.

Hygienist said...

Sigh. To try or not to try that is the question. While it is possible I have never had well prepared eggplant (sorry mom) I have never much cared for the stuff and generally avoid it. The recipe looks delicious but I would hate to waste all that yummy cheese only to discover that the eggplant is still awful. lol Awww heck. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Chef John said...

the food Gods hate a coward.

Reeni♥ said...

Hi Chef John,

I wanted to let you know that I came across a website that is publishing my recipes and posts off my blog, and yours too. Here is the link:

http://www.easydeliciousrecipes.com/italian/pebble-beach-food-and-wine-2009-recap-coming-soon-to-a-video-recipe-blog-near-you/#comment-15

Pam said...

I'm with Chef John on this, Hygienist. While I don't know you, You're probably not 80 years old. I'll bet you're wondering, "..and that would be important because...?"

Check out my comment under Chef John's "little green balls of death" recipe. (Link here: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2008/10/little-green-balls-of-death-unfairly.html )

Chef John said...

thanks for the info!

Pam said...

Scathing comment left on "that" site.

How dare they!?!

CollegeGourmet said...

Not a huge fan of eggplant, except in eggplant Parmesan (probably because of the cheese and oil). I will definitely have to try this healthier version and see what I think.

San-Man said...

Exactly why and when did Eggplant Parmigiana (an eyetalian dish) become Eggplant Parmesan (French)??? It's no more a french dish than french fries are...This annoys me to no end...

Chef John said...

I really don't care either way, but I used Parmesan instead of Parmigiana since it's searched for twice as much as the correct term. Since I get much of my traffic from people searching google I use what will bring in the most viewers.

Everyone else should use Parmigiana so you don't get annoyed.

Hygienist said...

Well Chef John hasn't steered me wrong yet I'll have to give this one a try. And no Pam I am not 80 and won't be for a few decades yet. I promise not to wait til then try this recipe.

Chef John said...

they removed my stuff, thanks

Francesca Tariffe Telecom said...

Eggplants are superbous! I think it is my favorite food, so tasty! I absolutely have to try this recipe and then I will let you know! :)

Francesca Tariffe Telecom said...

Eggplants are simply fantastic..It is absolutely my favorite food and I have to try this recipe, looks so tasty! I will let you know..:)

Malcolm said...

Awesome recipe. I cant wait to try this one. Maybe I will even cook it this weekend for myself, bachelor style. ie. freeze half and live off of it next week! Although tough getting pepperjack in Germany I think, but everything else I can get.

Bill W, NH said...

I had some leftover eggplant so I made this dish last night. It's very good. I didn't have enough eggplant to incorporate it into the sauce so I just used a decent (Pastene) spaghetti sauce. The shredded pepper Jack was excellent and there's no need to think mozzarella is needed. Yum Yum Yum I doubt I used even a tablespoon of olive oil so it's a relatively healthy dish.

Bruce said...

Hi Chef John Tried your eggplant parmesan and liked - but not loved -it. I think leaving the skin on made it taste a bit bitter. I will try again without the skin and see if that improves it. Otherwise I think it is a reasonable alternative to the deep fried version. Maybe the flavor (bitterness?) will mellow with anight in the fridge? Leftovers will tell the story tomorrow! Cathy PS I LOVE the sound of your voice! No bitterness there!

Chef John said...

bitterness varies from eggplant to eggplant. You can salt it and let the juices drain, this helps sometimes. Just rinse before you use. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

dear chef john...

i made your eggplant parmesan casserole tonight for my mom, brother, and boyfriend. i'm 23 years old and believe it or not, this is the first time i've ever cooked with a recipe. (usually i just make stirfrys and soups out of whatever is in the fridge). i obviously have very little cooking experience, but your recipe and video was so easy to follow! i pulled it off! can you believe it?! and everyone LOVED it! they are all asking when i will make it again. your blog is a great resource!

thank you!

Chef John said...

thanks! you made my day

KP said...

Ooo. This was good. Even though I didn't have all the right types of cheese.

The poor eggplants looked like they were crying "feed me" when I restricted their oil intake though though. I love olive oil. It was hard not to give in.

Chrissi said...

I have never had fried green tomatoes before, nor have I ever heard of doing such a thing...

I decided to fry a green tomato that fell off my tomato plant when it got knocked over by wind. So I followed your directions and you know... it's not that bad.... :)

I was concerned about solanine and did enough research to somewhat confidently assure myself that the solanine mostly gets cooked out when you fry them.

I actually quite like them :)

Healthy and Homemade said...

Definitely making it this way from now on, the regular version makes me feel a little sickly from being stuffed full of oil and cheese.

Yum yum yum eggplant.

Anonymous said...

Just tried this recipe about a week ago for a family gathering...needless to say everyone loved it! People kept going back for seconds and thirds...awesome recipe, definately a do over! Thanks!

Aerin-sol said...

Hi Chef - several friends and I get together once a month for board games and dinner, and this month I made this casserole. To feed all of us, I doubled the recipe; I was a little concerned that it wouldn't turn out as good as it probably does in the smaller casserole dish, but I think it didn't suffer too much. I brought home an empty dish, so I guess that says something. (-: Thanks!

Chef John said...

thanks for the report!!

Anonymous said...

kind dissapointed with the outcome...bread crumbs and parmeggiano overtake all the rest of the flavors. Not my cup of tea although I love Aubergines.

Julia said...

This turned out perfectly!! I sautéed onions and mushrooms along with the diced eggplant for the sauce.

Anonymous said...

What do you think of baking the eggplant slices in the breadcrumb mixture and layering with your ceese mixture finishing on top with cheese instead? I am about to make some form of eggplant parm for the first time..

Chef John said...

That should work!

hope chests said...

I really don't like eggplants but this recipe is worth a try. I would love to make some.

Speedyfuzzball said...

Eggplant parm is one of my favorites and I usually make it the full-fat way but I'm definitely going to try this when I get home from school =)

Christina said...

Ugh, this was gross. BUT, it wasn't the recipes fault, more like the eggplant's. I ordered it from Peapod.com. Even though I love Peapod, eggplant is something you should probably pick out yourself. They were very small, VERY soft, and brown in parts.

One bite and I gagged. We pitched the hole batch and ordered take-out.

I'll try this recipe again but with eggplant I picked out myself.

Paul D said...

OK, I can’t keep telling my Calabrese/ New York relatives that this is simply an “eggplant casserole” – it sounds too “grandmaish”, and doesn’t do this tray of magnificence much justice in my opinion.

Therefore, in my home, I have taken the liberty of renaming this gem of a dish “The Giovanni” after my favorite Italian-American internet chef – Chef John. “The Giovanni” receives much love, even from my mother-in-law who has eaten Melanzane prepared a million different ways since her birth at the beginning of time. I hope this spring and summer people make this dish (the right way!) and Chef John copyrights it or something…

P.S. There is nothing worse than under cooking eggplants folks. Don't be afraid to let 'em cook. That could be where you hit a road bump.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe Chef John!! I always thought eggplant parmesan was "okay". Part of me knew it COULD be awesome, and this recipe proves it. I have made it delicious before, but it was always so much work. Thank you for a ridiculously easy recipe free of all that salting and sweating the eggplant, breading, frying, etc. nonsense. So easy and truly the best I've tasted.
Making it again tonight :)

Stefan Kim said...

I just found this recipe by coincidence, and realized it was the first recipe that I ever watched from Food Wishes! It's been a while since then... and you're even more awesome than ever! Thanks Chef John, for being the best.

RR said...

Hi Chef, I am a vegetarian, and I came across this website while searching for melanzane parmigiana in allrecipes. The video was excellent...I tried making it last night, and my husband swore he will never eat another eggplant parmesan anywhere other than this homemade one...he was completely impressed with the flavour...my kids had the leftovers for breakfast! Thank you!
My breadcrumb topping was a littel dry, maybe I should add more olive oil next time? : )

joymama said...

This is the third time I've made this dish, the second time making it with homemade ricotta cheese.

Perfecct vegetarian recipe.

cookinmom said...

ok, gotta ask...do you have a garden?

Chef John said...

yes, but just flowers and herbs...not enough sun :(

cookinmom said...

Awwe man, have you ever done a tomato pie...I have a garden full. Looked to see if you had a recipe and to no avail. Would love to have one!?!!! Hint, hint! :0)

Anonymous said...

Hi chef John! I am your newest fan and a cook of two weeks! All thanks to the discovery of your blog which brought life to my boring kitchen (and to my husband's stomach)! Eggplant is the next thing on my curriculum. Since I live in Korea, it is hard to get ricotta cheese here. What could it be replaced with?

Chef John said...

Cottage cheese would be the closest but not nearly as good! Thanks!

jody said...

Why did you slice the garlic instead of mincing it.

Chef John said...

Just a change of pace! :)

Unknown said...

I love this recipe - delicious, easy and healthy (compared to other Eggplant Parmesan recipes). And hey, Chef John, our 3-year-old Husky Pepper loves it, too!

cookinmom said...

Awe mannnn! Wow...better than restaurant! Made this with fresh grown tomatoes from the garden. Third time making this and unbelievable. Served with spaghetti, corn (from garden) and salad. As always, "We enjoyed!"

Chef John said...

Thanks! Glad you like it so much.

teckaway said...

Thanks so much for the recipe Chef John, it was AMAZING. And for the tomato sauce too :D

http://instagram.com/p/p4HwQEiXVT/?modal=true

Robyn said...

Hi Chef John, I made the eggplant parmesan casserole today and I loved it. The video made it easy to put together and It was absolutely delicious. I am enjoying learning from your video collection, thanks for sharing it, Robyn

Roberto said...

Try partially cooking the eggplant slices on a screaming hot grill pan. Same low-oil, low-caloric effect, but you also get attractive grill char marks.