Thursday, January 19, 2012

My eggplant masterpiece

I've mentioned that I'm not really fond of cooking with a recipe.  It just feels good to me to let the food lead me.  I know that's weird, and I'm fondly called a hippie by some of those close to me, so whatever.  I'm weird and I own it.

We bought an eggplant the other day with the intention of having breaded eggplant with our steaks.  Well, I ended up helping a friend with something and we totally flaked on the eggplant.  Today while I was finishing up at work, the handsome hubby texted me to ask how I wanted the eggplant sliced and what to do with it.  (By the way, I wanted it peeled, sliced in about 1/2 inch slices, and left on some paper towels for a little while with some salt sprinkled on top to help eliminate some of the moisture.)

Here's where things get interesting, and my recipe is going to involve a story and some glimpses into my logic process.  It's a scary place in there, so you might want to wear your seatbelts.

I entered into the recipe builder on WW's site the other day how I would typically make an eggplant parmigiana recipe.  Let's just say 1) I don't make it very often, and 2) it's a darned good thing!  It was well over 16 points a serving for the eggplant alone - forget serving pasta alongside.  I was also starting the dinner process this evening with a refrigerator pretty low on milk, which makes dredging a complicated task.  I was looking around in there to try to figure out what exactly I could substitute for that, and I revisited my kindergarten days.

You know, when I was a kid, my friends called me glue baby.  I'm not kidding.  I would make a mess out of paste.  A MESS!  You know what I had in my fridge that I thought I could use as a glue-y, paste-y, substitute?  Light sour cream!

No, wait... don't run off.  I know it's scary - here's a flashlight to help you find your way...

Here's the recipe:

1 medium eggplant, prepared as mentioned above
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup light sour cream
2  Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil (we used grapeseed)
2 1/2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 jar prepared pasta sauce (We always use Ragu.  The flavor today was Robusto! Chopped tomato, olive oil, and garlic.)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Using the back of a spoon, paint about a teaspoon of sour cream on one side each slice of the eggplant.  Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top, patting a little as you go to make sure it sticks, then flip over and repeat on the other side.  At this point, we heated the oil in the pan, careful not to overheat.  We did about 2 tsp of oil as needed, gradually adding as we went to prepare the eggplant.  

Fry the eggplant just for about a minute on each side - just enough to get the breadcrumbs to form a crispy crust.  The sour cream keeps it sticking pretty well, but there will be some residual in the pan, so you might want to wipe it out after every other piece or so (if you're so inclined, as my husband was).

We had 7 slices of eggplant, so as he went, we put 4 slices on the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish.  Then pour 1/2 jar of the spaghetti sauce over the top of them.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the parmesan cheese.  Then layer the rest of the eggplant cutlets, spaghetti sauce, and parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 min, until bubbly and the parmesan has gotten a little melty.

We served it with Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta.  I ate 1 cutlet of the eggplant (we ended up with 6 servings out of the pan) and 1/2 cup of the pasta.  

Eggplant masterpiece:  7 Points+ (according to the recipe builder at Weight Watchers)
Pasta: 5 points for 3/4 cup, so I figured about 4 Points+ for my serving.

This face:  Pointless.


Wait.  Not pointless.  Priceless!  Note the tomato sauce tinge covering the entire lower half of his face.

His reaction as he took a bite of the eggplant was, "I'm not sure what this is, but it's AWESOME!"  My handsome hubby went back for seconds, he seriously loved it.  My older son wasn't a huge fan, but he ate the sauce and pasta, so he had a good serving of veggies at dinner.

In a word, success!

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

I wonder if you could bake it instead of fry? I never seem to be able to fry anything well.

I saw a light Eggplant parm recipe on the Today Show the other day. But it wasn't breaded. Which to me, sort of takes the goodness out of any Parm-type meal.