Eggplant & Zucchini alla Parmigiana

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Can you say absolutely delicious? That is exactly how to describe  this dish! You must try it.

Now Baby Lady loves Lidia’s Bastianich. She loves her cookbooks, her cooking show and her flagship restaurant, Felidia. When her TV show is on, we faithfully watch. Her show had not been on PBS for a while but returned the beginning of January. It was while we were watching Lidia’s Italy in America that she made this dish. It looked and sounded very intriguing. First, it’s baked, not fried. Second, it includes zucchini and eggplant. Now I love eggplant parmesan. It’s one of my favorite dishes. It is a versatile dish that reheats great as a left over. We don’t cook it because we don’t fry a lot of foods and traditional eggplant parmesan uses fried eggplant paddles. I’m also not overly fond of baking crusted dishes as a substitute for frying. Nevertheless, the manner in which she made the crust was different and piqued my curiosity. We had to give it a try so we did, with our modifications, of course. The net out was this unbelievably delicious meal. You have no excuse not to try this dish. You will like it. You must be warned, however, that this is not a quick meal so I would definitely reserve this for a weekend project to feed the family or entertain friends.

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 3 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 3 cups Panko
  • 5 cups grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1½ cups All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 Tbsp crushed oregano
  • 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes

For the Parmigiana

  • 2 medium-size, firm eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 medium size, firm zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 14 ounces fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 12 cups marinara/tomato sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, shredded

Instruction

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Salt eggplants all over with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Layer in a large colander set in the sink. Lay a plate over the eggplant and weight the top with cans to help press out excess liquid. Let drain about ½ hour, then rinse and pat dry.

In a large vessel, toss together the breadcrumbs, panko, 2 cups parmesan, seasonings and olive oil. Mix together.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Set up your assembly line. Dredge the eggplant slices in flour

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

then the egg wash

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

then the breadcrumbs, pressing in the crumbs to make sure they adhere.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Lay the eggplant slices on parchment lined sheet pans, without touching.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Repeat the process with the zucchini.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Bake eggplant, rotating the sheet pans halfway through baking, until cooked through and crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add smashed garlic and sauté until just golden, about 1 to 2 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Add the spinach with any water clinging to the leaves, season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt, cover and cook until wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure the bottom of the pan is not dry, adding water a tablespoon at a time if necessary. Once the spinach is wilted, uncover and cook until spinach is tender and excess water is gone, about 4 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

To assemble the eggplant, spread ¾ cup of the marinara/tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. I used my roasting pan because it works. :)

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Layer the baked eggplant, in an even layer.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Spread with enough marinara/tomato sauce to cover with a thin layer.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Sprinkle with parmesan and the shredded mozzarella.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Spread all of the spinach in one layer.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Now, add the baked zucchini.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Spread with more marinara/tomato sauce to cover.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Sprinkle with more mozzarella and parmesan.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Top with an even layer of the remaining eggplant.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining grated Grana Padano.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Tent the baking dish with foil, so it is not touching the cheese and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Uncover and bake until cheese is browned and crusty and sauce is bubbling all over, another 15 minutes.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Let cool and set 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

Serve & enjoy!!

© 2012 REMCooks.com

© 2012 REMCooks.com

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28 thoughts on “Eggplant & Zucchini alla Parmigiana

  1. I, too, bake my eggplant — and chicken — before assembling my parmigiana but have never thought to add zucchini to the dish. I very much like the idea. I bet it adds a nice flavor to the dish. Thanks for the idea.
    Leave it to Lidia. I’m, also, a big fan have over a dozen of her shows recorded. My dish cable package offers 3 PBS stations and one of her programs is on each of them weekly. I should look through them to see if I have this recipe recorded. Then again, I’ve got yours now. I can use that 30 minutes of DVR time for something else. :)

    • Hi, John. I have never particularly cared for baked crusts but the addition of the oil really changes the texture and adhesive quality of the crust. We were impressed. As for combining the zucchini with the eggplant, I never would have thought of it and we’re glad we saved you 30 minutes of DVR time for something else. :)

  2. Can hardly wait to make this! Our wind chill is below zero today… and this sounds like the perfect “toasty warm” meal! Any chance I could get the link to the marinara sauce? Would love to make it too. :-)

  3. Pingback: Baby Lady’s Red Wine Marinara Sauce | REMCooks

  4. Huge hit last night! Every morsel devoured! Everyone left happy with smiles on their faces…. wishing there were leftovers… next time (and I’ll make the sauce correctly)!

    • Hi, Linda. We’re glad it was a success. We really liked the breading. I have “faux fried” things before and have never really cared for the breading. This method of breading with the addition of the oil in the breadcrumb mixture made the breading adhere to the veggies. We had leftovers for a week and it still held up. It’s a real winner as far as we are concerned.

    • Thanks Liza. Glad you like it and the photo. It really was great and I was totally surprised by the baked crust. It lasted the week as we gladly ate the leftovers.
      Insofar as the salad is concerned, the only caesar salad recipe I make is a somewhat traditional caesar salad (except I don’t coddle the egg(s)) with romaine lettuce leaves, egg yolk, garlic, anchovy, olive oil, dry mustard, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. I probably should make it and post it someday. Thanks for the idea. :)

  5. Pingback: Eggplant & Zucchini alla Stefan | REMCooks

  6. Pingback: Pan Fried Eggplant with Pork | REMCooks

  7. You are so right! It’s a weekend project and well worth the effort. It’s 4:00 AM and I’m headed for bed after putting this bit of heaven together for company. It’s going to be part of a late brunch and one that was requested by our guests. This is the second time we’ll serve this amazing dish and both times, I followed the recipe to the letter — even using the linked red wine marinara sauce that couldn’t have been easier. Thank you for the step by step photos and for inspiring me to do something special and a tad out of my comfort zone. Love it!

    • Thanks for dropping by, trying the recipe and letting us know how you liked it. We’re glad you and your guests enjoyed the meal. We love it and have made it several times. It freezes beautifully, too. :)

    • Thanks, Heather. We’re glad you liked our take on Lidia’s recipe. We think Lidia rocks!!!! Baby Lady’s favorite restaurant in the entire world (we’ve eaten at a few) is Felidia’s in NYC (her flagship restaurant.). It’s why we watch her show. :) If you ever get a chance to go there, do it! You will love it.

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