Thursday, January 22, 2009

BSI: Zucchini (Egg-cchini Parmesan)

Last night I talked to my brother for gnocchi recommendations, but today was my dad's parmesan advice. Before starting, I made a quick phone call to cover all the basics and learn "the secrets."

Over Christmas break, we had a delicious eggplant parmesan he made and Johnny absolutely loved it and didn't suffer any whey side effects, despite it containing cheeses that usually give Johnny problems.

So, without further ado -- here is my Egg-cchini Parmesan! I added a layer of zucchini for the BSI submission and decided it would only be fitting to come up with a Rachael Ray-esque cutesy name to accompany it!

You'll have to forgive the lack of preparation photos because the duty of battering and frying the eggplant and zucchini left some dirty hands and a non-camera friendly kitchen!

I used 1 large eggplant and 2 medium zucchini. I peeled the eggplant and sliced all the vegetables length-wise about 1/4" thick, and then cut the strips in half. I salted the eggplant on both sides and let them sit a few minutes to withdraw any moisture.

While the vegetables were sitting, I made my sauce. Yes, parents and other Italian-blooded family members rejoice! I made homemade sauce!!!

Once the sauce was assembled and stewing away, I got to work frying up the veggies. The assembly line worked a little something like this: 1) dredge the veggies in a dusting of plain flour then 2) dip them in an egg batter of beaten eggs, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Next, I fried both sides and were drained on a paper towel.

Once all the vegetables were fried and the sauce was ready, I got started on the next assembly line - actually putting together the dish. First, I started with a spoonful of sauce in the bottom of the dish. Next, per my Dad's advice (seen on Bobby Flay's throwdown) I dunked the fried eggplant/zucchini IN the sauce! What a fantastic idea! Lay the sauce-dunked pieces in neat rows and add a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Keep assembling layers, which in my case I alternated between eggplant and zucchini, and then adding cheese. My dad packs his down so it gets firm, like a lasagna, rather than just strips of veggies in a neat pile.

Finish the dish with a little more sauce on top and the last of the mozzarella and parmesan. I baked mine, covered, in a 350° oven for about 45 minutes or so, taking the foil off the last 10 minutes. Before we cut into it, I let it rest for about 10 minutes to firm up some. We finished off last night's bottle of wine with tonight's dinner - yum! Only $5.99, too!

Johnny said it was a "top tier" level of dinner. I was really quite impressed with myself - it was delicious! I'm glad we only ate like 1/3 of it, because that leaves lots of leftovers to savor again!


Anonymous said...

Oh my, that looks delicious! And your sauce was homemade - wonderful!

Consider yourself entered - I am having my husband be the judge, FYI!

Anonymous said...

Christina, that looks so fancy! I have a few vegetarian friends at work who would love this recipe. Thanks for posting. Are you going to make pizza tonight? I may attempt to make my sisters dough and see if it turns out as good as hers. However she has like 20 years experience, when I have none! It could be a whole new world for me!

Christina said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I just had some re-heated for lunch and it is AMAZINGLY good. Probably the top 3 best things I've ever cooked. I want to roll around in it! Thankfully, Johnny had no whey-side effects so it'll definitely be appearing again.

Yes, tonight is your sister's pizza! I've got to work until 6, so I thought it'd be a good Friday night dinner. All the toppings are prepped ahead of time and I'll just make the dough when I get home. I'm a little nervous about the dough, too - but after dealing w/ gnocchi dough so recently, I think I can handle pizza dough!