Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan and Eggplant Pizza

Here's a couple of recipes I tried out during the holidays. I won't list the recipes for No-Knead Foccacia Bread, No-Knead Cinnamon Rolls, Onion Soup and Bread Pudding, but I'll list the ones for the Eggplant Parmesan and Eggplant Pizza.

Gout sufferers can take cheese and dairy products, so that makes things a little easier!

Eggplant Parmesan (adapted from lickmyspoon.com)
I took about 4 hours in total, because I spent most of the time roasting the eggplants and drying them out to get their meaty texture. It could easily feed 6 people with salad on the side, but it fed 3 hungry people this time round.

Ingredients 
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium Japanese eggplants
800g can whole tomatoes (which I crushed)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
5 teaspoons minced garlic (about 5 cloves), reserve 2 for topping
425g ricotta cheese (I used one tub)
450g shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (150g) + 1/4 cup (37g) grated parmigiano
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Preparation 
Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with olive oil.

Cut the eggplant into ¼-inch slices and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Flip the slices over and repeat, so now both sides of the eggplant are oiled. (I did not salt them because recipe is way too salty with the cheese.)

Roast until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F. In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with 3 teaspoons of the garlic over medium heat. Let cook until the garlic is fragrant and starting to toast.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat, then add the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of parmigiano, and a pinch of pepper.

Assemble the Eggplant Parm: spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, 1/2 cup more tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella. Repeat: eggplant, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, remaining 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/4 cup parmigiano and panko. Season to taste with pepper.

Once the filling is bubbling, take the casserole out of the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the panko mixture evenly over the top. Continue baking, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown and crisp, about 20-25 more minutes.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Eggplant Pizza
I got my inspiration from here (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/02/my-favorite-pizza/) and I'm only stating the toppings I used here because pizzas are generally fool-proof.

Wraps (Garlic flavoured)
Caramelized onions
Oven roasted cherry tomatoes
Oven roasted eggplant
A mix of mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan cheeses (Pizza Plus from Perfect Italiano)

Some notes on Onion Soup
I basically make the base with caramelized onions sauteed in butter. As gout sufferers are not supposed to take alchohol or beef or chicken stock, I used a vegetable cube (which only had some traces of mushroom in it and no anchovies.) and I seasoned the soup generously with herbs, salt and pepper.

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