UPDATED: I know I just posted about this recently, but I have made some changes and want to spread the love.
This was a very interesting and impressive recipe, if I do say so myself. Each layer of this meal had its own unique quality, yet paired very well with its counterparts. The egg patties were light and fluffy, the sauce sweet and flavorful, the eggplants rich and smooth, and nothing beats a big, honking slice of melted fresh mozzarella.
A short post for a tall stack of deliciousness.
Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
For Tomato Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped basil
For Eggplant Stacks:
- 2 (1-pound) eggplants
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
- 3/4 cup fresh plain dry bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
- 1/2 pound arugula, coarse stems discarded, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 pound cold fresh mozzarella, ends trimmed and remainder cut into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices
Make tomato sauce:
Heat oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend tomatoes with juice in a blender until almost smooth. Add to onion mixture in saucepan with water, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in basil and keep warm, covered.
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position.
Cut 12 (1/3-inch-thick) rounds from widest portion of eggplants. Brush both sides with oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt (total). Bake on an oiled baking sheet, turning once, until golden and tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, covered. Leave oven on.
Make egg patties and sauté arugula:
Stir together bread crumbs, parmesan, parsley, half of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then stir in eggs and water.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Drop 4 rounded 1/3 cups of egg mixture into skillet and cook, turning once, until patties are golden brown and puffed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and cook remaining garlic with red-pepper flakes, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add arugula and basil and stir until just wilted, then stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Arrange 4 egg patties about 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Top each with 2 Tbsp tomato sauce, 1 slice mozzarella, 1 eggplant slice, 2 more tablespoons tomato sauce, another eggplant slice, arugula mixture, and remaining eggplant. Bake until cheese melts, 5 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with additional oil and serve remaining sauce on the side.