Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan Without The Guilt

As far as baking is concerned, I only follow recipes.  I might tweak them at bit, adding something exotic like a spice or an extract, but I usually stick to the rules.  Not so when it comes to cooking.  I love throwing things together and seeing what I end up with.  They say necessity is the mother of all inventions and that's certainly true when it comes to dinner time in my house.  I often survey what I have left in the fridge and invent a recipe for dinner based on those ingredients.  In an effort to keep my family eating all things healthy (besides the odd macaron, cupcake and slice of cheesecake), I've tried to reduce the amount of carbohydrates and oil I cook with.  But since my kids love things like fried schnitzel and eggplant parmesan, I've had to try and find a way around breading and frying while still keeping it yummy.

Recently, on a supermarket run, I wandered into the health food section and stumbled across a product that I'd never seen before.  Quinoa flour.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I bought it anyways.  I began searching online for recipes that use quinoa flour and could hardly find any.  So it sat in my freezer, and every time I opened it to grab something else, I would stare at it, sigh and close the freezer.

Well, I figured out what to do with it and it worked like a dream.  This lighter version of eggplant paremsan has a fraction of the amount of oil than the real deal, not a trace of fatty cream, quinoa flour instead of breadcrumbs, and - last but not least - they are broiled in the oven instead of fried.  It came out MUCH better than I expected.  In fact, it was so much better that I doubt anyone would realize that they were eating anything but a sinfully rich eggplant parmesan.

Eggplant Parmesan Without The Guilt

Serves 4-6

3 large eggplants, sliced into 36 slices 
salt and pepper
1 c. quinoa flour
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. Italian herb spice 
2 eggs
180 g. package of mozzarella cheese, sliced into 24 thin slices
100 g. package of grated Parmesan cheese
1 large jar tomato sauce
Handful chopped fresh parsley

Set oven to broil.

On two large lined and greased cookie sheets, place the eggplant slices tightly together - you should be able to get all 36 slices onto two cookie sheets.  Spray the eggplant generously with with PAM or other cooking oil spray.  Alternatively, you can brush each eggplant with olive oil using a pastry brush, but don't use a lot of oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place under the broiler until browned, then flip eggplant slices over and broil once more.  Repeat with second tray of eggplant.  It should take about 5-8 minutes per tray per side.  

In the meantime, while eggplants are browning in the oven, place quinoa flour in a small bowl along with the spices and mix well with fork.  Crack the eggs into another small bowl and whisk with fork.  When eggplants is browned on both sides, remove from oven.  Dip each eggplant slice into the eggs, then dredge in the quinoa flour mixture using a fork, placing it back on the cookie sheet.  When all slices are coated, place back in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes until flour coating gets a little drier and a little crispy on top.

Preheat oven to 375.

Grease a 9x13 dish and place 12 eggplant slices (3x4) on the bottom.  Place a spoon of tomato sauce on each slice of eggplant, topping it with a slice of mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.  Repeat with another 12 eggplant slices, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.  Top with the last remaining 12 slices and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.  Sprinkle some oregano on top, cover tightly with foil and bake in oven for 30 minutes, uncover and broil for about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley on top and serve!

1 comment: