I rarely brag about my at-home cooking abilities. I’m a good cook, but certainly not a great one, and I definitely tend to shy away from the more adventurous recipes. With all that said, I cooked something pretty spectacular this past weekend, and truth be told, the local ingredients are what really made the dish so fantastic. Most of them came out of my local Rattle’s Garden farmshare, along with some beautiful tomatoes given to me by a friend. Enough with the small talk. Here’s my Cast Iron Skillet Eggplant Parmesan…
2 large eggplants (peeled)
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 medium chopped onion
6 large tomatoes (peeled)
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
3 eggs (scrambled)
1-2 cups of mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 pinches of sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1. You’ll want to first peel the tomatoes. The easiest way (at least for me) is to cut a small “X” into the bottom of each tomato, boil for about 30 seconds, and then transfer to an ice bath. The skin peels right off. Chop all of the tomatoes into big chunks and leave them on your cutting board for the time being.
3. In a large pot, heat your olive oil on medium and then add the chopped onions. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute and add your tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer for 1 hour. During this time, periodically take a fork and smash the tomatoes, creating a chunky sauce.
3. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Take your peeled eggplant and cut into VERY thin rounds. If you have a mandolin at home, this works great. Take each round and dip into egg mixture and then into bread crumbs. Transfer each round to a cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and let cool. *Note: for time purposes, it helps to have multiple cookie sheets and a double oven.
4. Take a cast iron skillet and add a huge scoop of the tomato sauce (spread around). Next, add a layer of eggplant rounds, then add shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Keep layering with eggplant, sauce, and cheese until you reach just a little below the top of the skillet.
5. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and garnish with fresh basil.
I also recommend boiling up some good pasta to accompany the eggplant Parmesan, especially if you have some excess tomato sauce.