BY MEG WHITE
Serves 6 hearty eaters with a salad of your choosing.
2 large black beauty eggplants, cut into 3/4" slices (about 2 lbs.)
1 tsp. salt
1 & 1/2 cups very dry breadcrumbs
2 large garlic gloves, finely chopped
3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup fresh basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. each dried oregano and thyme
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2/3 cup Nicoise olives, sliced
Slice eggplant, lightly salt it, then let it rest in a colander for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the eggs. In another bowl combine the breadcrumbs with 1/2 cup Parmesan, all the oregano and thyme, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Dip the eggplant in the eggs, covering thoroughly, and then dip into the breadcrumb mixture (again, covering each slice well). Place one at a time onto a non-stick baking sheet. Save any left over crumb mixture when you’ve completed this task. Bake the eggplant for about 25 to 30 minutes on each side. It should be tender (i.e., pierce easily w/ a fork).
Spread a little less than half of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 8 by 12 glass baking dish and place half of the eggplant on top. Sprinkle with half of the red pepper flakes, fresh basil, garlic, and mozarella. Now place the remainder of the eggplant on top of this and cover with last of the sauce. Top that with the leavings of the red pepper, basil, garlic, and a sprinkling of the remaining bread crumb mixture. Bake uncovered for an additional 25 to 30 minutes – until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and slightly browned. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving and then garnish with remaing Paremsan, parsley, and sliced olives. En-friggin’-joy with some friends!