One of the first things I was eager to make with our most recent bounty from Hollygrove Market was Eggplant Parmesan. However, $1.25 was a little touch and go on the thought of eating “just” eggplant and the eggplant we got was on the smaller side of things. So I decided to beef it up (er, should I say bird it up? Sorry, that’s horrible) with a few chicken breast cutlets. I also wanted to keep it light, so I didn’t bread the chicken or the eggplant, just gave them a little suntan in some olive oil before layering them together in a dish with some cheese and sauce and sending them off to the oven. When I sat down to write this post, I really thought I had done a great job on the photography this time, but I realized I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product!! Oops! We were too excited to dig into it I guess!
Here’s what you’ll need for the parmesan:
1 medium eggplant
1-1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
fresh grated parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves
fresh marinara sauce (Note: You can totally use jarred sauce. I made my own because I was home early and $1.25 wasn’t going to be home for a few hours, but I’m pretty sure I won’t take that step every time I make this.)
1. Preheat the oven to 425. Slice the eggplant into thin slices and lay them out flat on a paper towel. Lightly salt the slices on one side and allow them to sit for a few minutes. This will draw some moisture (and bitterness apparently) out of the eggplant before you cook it. Repeat on the second side.
2. Sprinkle the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and saute the chicken cutlets for about 2-3 minutes per side, in batches if needed. The goal is to just get a little color on the chicken, not to cook it all the way through.
3. Once the chicken is done, gently blot the eggplant slices with a paper towel to remove the excess salt and saute them (add more olive oil if needed), again in batches.
4. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a few tablespoons of sauce. Then layer in the chicken, cover it with more sauce and add a layer of sliced mozzarella.
4. Add the basil, the eggplant slices, another layer of sauce, and another layer of mozzarella.
5. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover with a layer of foil and bake until bubbly. Remove the foil and bake until the cheese browns on top. Enjoy!