When I was growing up, eggplant parmesan was the only way I ever ate eggplant. In fact, it wasn’t until I was in college, newly vegetarian, that I even realized that it was a meatless meal staple. I had never loved eggplant. The problem with traditional eggplant parm is that the eggplant itself can get super mushy, soaking up lots of oil as it fries and then sogging up as it bakes in tomato sauce. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jamie Oliver just shared a recipe for eggplant Parmesan milanese, a crispy, still-cheesy take on the classic that’s a delicious summer entree. Oh, and did I mention it’s done in 30 minutes?
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The recipe, which is from Oliver’s cookbook 7 Ways, immediately starts off differently than a boring old eggplant parm. Instead of slicing your eggplant into rounds, you want to cut them vertically, into long, thick “steaks.”
Then, the eggpant steaks are breaded in rosemary focaccia crumbs and pan-fried until golden, moved to a baking sheet, and covered in a shower of grated Parmesan cheese. As the eggplant bakes in the oven, you make some spaghetti.
The spaghetti is twirled into a simple cherry tomato sauce, and when the eggplant comes out of the oven, the steaks are set on top of the spaghetti.
With each forkful you have the al dente bite of the spaghetti, the ultra-crispy shatter of the focaccia and Parmesan-crusted eggplant, the silky smoothness of the eggplant interior, and a burst of sweet-tart flavor from the cherry tomato sauce.
It’s an elevated, updated, fresher way to enjoy eggplant Parmesan, and we might not ever go back to the old way of doing things.
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