Recently I mentioned I purchased some eggplants at the Union Square Greenmarket. Although the natural instinct is to make eggplant Parmesan, I thought I would change things up a bit and use the eggplant in place of pasta sheets to make lasagna.
When I prepare eggplant, I use a mandoline to make the slices thin and uniform in thickness. I salt the slices and place them in a colander. The salt draws out the moisture so that the eggplant will cook up crispier. After it sits for a bit, I blot the slices on a dish cloth and dust the slices in seasoned flour (salt and pepper only), egg wash, breadcrumbs and place the slices on a cookie sheet that I've coated vegetable oil using a pastry brush. I then spray the tops with additional oil so that the eggplant slices bake up crispy and brown. I prefer to bake my eggplant in a hot, 400 degree oven, rather than to stand over a frying pan filled with vegetable oil. For the lasagna, I sliced the eggplant length wise to long strips.
For the sauce, I wanted to try Hoboken Farms marinara sauce that was on sale last week at ShopRite for $3.99 per jar. The sauce is made with whole tomatoes, but yet has some small chunks of tomato in it. The sauce was perfect for using it for the lasagna. It had a nice fresh taste, not overly seasoned, but let the true tomato taste shine through.
I must say, the eggplant lasagna was fabulous. My son would have loved it as the ricotta filling came out creamy and oozed out when sliced. You didn't have that full, heavy feeling if you ate a pasta style lasagna. My husband and I loved it. My daughter was visiting today and she had some of the leftovers and enjoyed it too. If you like eggplant rollatini, you'll love eggplant lasagna. Same idea, less work than filling each slice of eggplant with ricotta cheese.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.