Eggplant Parm Lite

Eggplant, a complex fruit under the guise of a vegetable. Its flavor is so unique it was once believed to drive people mad and its color so distinct, it has its own pantone.

Last night, we enjoyed it unbreaded, lightly draped in tomato sauce and blanketed in shreds of melted Parmesan cheese.

To prepare it, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the eggplant into 1/4″slices.  Soak the eggplant slices in salt water for about 10 minutes to extract bitterness and help it absorb less oil (about 1t. of salt in a few cups of cool water). You will see the water turn a rust color after just a few minutes. Drain the salt water, rinse and pat dry the eggplant with paper towels. Season the eggplant with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder. Heat about 2t. olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add several eggplant slices, as many as you can fit without them stacking on one another. Let cook about 3-4 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom and beginning to soften. Turn and cook on the other side about 2-3 minutes until completely tender. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining eggplant slices. Place one layer of cooked eggplant in a small baking dish and top with about 2T. of prepared tomato sauce to lightly cover but not saturate the eggplant. Add about 1T. Parmesan cheese over top. Repeat layering with eggplant, sauce, and Parmesan cheese until you’ve used all your eggplant. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serves 4 as a side dish.

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