Sometimes, a trip to the farmer’s market is just the cure for a cooking slump. It’s hard not to feel inspired surrounded by a bounty of local produce, especially here on the Central Coast.
Recently, I was searching for one last meal to round out the week before my next CSA delivery when I saw a pile of beautiful eggplants. Now, I don’t cook with eggplant much, but I just couldn’t resist, even though I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Luckily, a second bolt of inspiration struck as I wandered aimlessly through Trader Joe’s and spied jarred bruschetta. Eggplant parmesan. Even better, quick and easy eggplant parmesan.
Now, I usually consider myself a from-scratch fresh bruschetta purist. Perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes, high-quality olive oil, local basil, fresh-chopped garlic. Why buy bruschetta from a jar when making it yourself is so easy (and delicious)? But I’ve experimented with jarred bruschetta in chicken parmesan, and loved the results. Why not apply it to eggplant for an easy, vegetarian entree?
This is one of those recipes that I love making in late spring/early summer here on the Central Coast. When some days reach 90+ and some stay cool at 65, it’s nice to have a variety of meals on hand. Make this batch on a chill late spring evening and freeze the leftovers for a day you want some at-home comfort food.
2 medium eggplants
1 1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 cup breadcrumbs
cooking spray or oil
2 jars (24 oz) jarred bruschetta (or drained fresh bruschetta)
Preheat oven to 425 and grease the inside of a large 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray or oil.
Remove the eggplant stems, then slice along the long axis. Lay the eggplant halves flat on a cutting board and cut into 1/8-inch thick strips.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs together until whites and yolks are combined. On a medium or large plate (a long narrow platter works great if you have one), combine 1 cup of parmesan and the breadcrumbs. Dip each piece of eggplant in the egg mixture, letting the excess run back into the bowl, then coat on both sides with the parmesan-breadcrumb mixture. Lay the slices down in the baking dish in a single layer.
Spoon 1/4 of the bruschetta sauce on top of the eggplant slices, then continue to layer eggplant slices and bruschetta. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 25 – 40 minutes or until eggplant is fully cooked and parmesan is browned. Serve hot, alone or with a side salad.