Let me preface things by saying that I’m not a huge Martha Stewart fan. I find her recipes are often overly convoluted and involve a lot of unnecessary steps and ingredients that take away from what would otherwise be a beautiful simple dish. Most of the recipe flops I’ve had over the years involve Martha recipes. In general, I’m not a big recipe follower. To me a recipe is a guideline with suggestions vs. a complete road map. But for some reason I felt like doing things by the book the other night and the result was fantastic.
I had two lovely eggplants from my Spud.ca delivery that needed to get used up and after a horrible experience with a grilled eggplant lasagna last summer I was a bit lost as to what to do with my purple beauties. I’d never had or made eggplant parmigana, but liked the idea of it, so I googled and Martha’s recipe for Baked Eggplant Parmesan was the first hit I got. It was late in the day and I was kinda stressed out at work so without really looking at it I hit print and shoved it in my bag.
Thankfully I had everything I needed at home so I was able to throw it together in about 20 minutes after my workout. I think the key to a good eggplant parmigana is to make sure the eggplant gets cooked before assembling the casserole. Basically you bread your eggplant slices and bake them on oiled sheets for about 40 minutes (turning once). Then you put together the casserole, kind of like you would a lasagna. Sauce on the bottom (I used store bought as Martha recommends), then breaded eggplant, top it with cheese and repeat. The assembled casserole only needs to bake for 20 min. so from start to finish, including the prep, dinner was ready in just over an hour. There was very little clean up which my husband was happy about, and when we sat down to eat he said “are you sure this is eggplant”. This dish is healthy, delicious, pretty cheap, and it tastes better the next day. It’s fancy enough to serve for a dinner party and goes well with a nice crisp salad.
So I learned this week that I can stretch my vegetarian cooking skills to new limits, follow a recipe and be surprisingly satisfied with the result, and perhaps rekindle what little love I had for Martha Stewart in the process.