For dinner tonight, there was one goal:
Make something completely the opposite of Thanksgiving. I wouldn’t want to spoil my appetite for Thursday after all.
(right. like that could happen.)
So what’s the opposite of Thanksgiving, exactly?
I guess I don’t know, really. I do know that when I was shopping for T Day goodies today, I was on the lookout for anything that none of the other 1,257 Thanksgiving shoppers were loading into their carts. I was looking for anything that might scream “DINNER!!!” at me.
And the item that screamed was eggplant.
Unfortunately, I didn’t decide to blog about dinner until I’d already sliced, salted and rinsed my eggplant. This is why I have no photographs of screaming eggplant. Too bad, really. Screamy eggplants are a riot.
The good news is that even if I don’t have screamy eggplant, I do have steamy eggplant. Might that suffice?
Note to Self: (I’ve written this note before, mind you) stand BACK and let the heat escape before you go jamming your camera into the oven, lady!
A steam free lens. Except now you can see all the fun stuff on the bottom of my oven.
Stop looking at the bottom of my oven and judging me!
Did you know you can make a healthier/non-fried eggplant parm by baking the eggplant a bit before slapping it between layers of sauce and cheese? You can!
Tonight I used two medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2 to 1/4 inch slabs. Salted and then set aside in a colander over the sink for 20 minutes to sweat out some of its water and bitterness, rinsed and hand squeezed to get a little more moisture out. Pop those slices into the oven you preheated (375!) for 10 – 15 minutes to continue drying a bit more.
In the meantime, you can get to work on one of your other layers.
Tonight’s secret ingredient? PSsSt! It’s in the sauce!
The Pumpkin Enchiladas know the secret. Spicy peppers!
Sauce was made tonight with a couple cloves of garlic and a diced onion sauteed in olive oil. A 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, a 6oz can of tomato paste, a little salt, sugar and basil and finally two or three finely minced Chipotle Chiles that I had left over and stirred them into the sauce.
Really? Tomato sauce with a kick?
Yes, really! Stop questioning me!
Once your spicy sauce has bubbled bubbled toiled and troubled for a little while, spread a thin layer down in your baking dish and then a layer of your lightly baked eggplant.
Consider peeling your eggplant before slicing. I didn’t, but we don’t really mind the skin here.
And layer three, a sprinkled layer of mozzarella.
1, 2, 3 Action!
Then repeat. That is, another layer of tomato, eggplant and cheese. Top with the last of your sauce, it’s ready for the oven!
Bake at 375 for about 35 – 45 minutes. Set aside for few minutes to cool and set before cutting.
What do you mean it just looks like a red blob on a plate?
What if I serve a couple of side salads (hiiiii salad! It’s been a while!)
and top it with some Parmesan cheese? And what if promise that it’s a really GOOD red blob on a plate?
It was great! Especially with that spicy saucy. Spicy screamy eggplant parm totally rocks.
And hey, at least it was the opposite of Thanksgiving! You can’t deny me that!
Unless of course your grandma drops the turkey as she’s getting it out of oven on Thursday and totally ruins your Thanksgiving. Then if you’re forced to order pizza for dinner and your toddler picks off all the cheese and leaves a soggy blobby piece of red sauce covered crust on their plate?
Well then I guess in your case this wouldn’t be the opposite of Thanksgiving at all. Sorry about that.