I clipped this recipe from the August 2004 issue of Gourmet Magazine. It’s so much more trouble than I would usually go to for dinner, but it’s so worth it. What you do is dredge sliced eggplant in flour, egg, and a panko bread crumb and parmesan mixture and then fry those slices in olive oil and finally layer and bake them with a fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Fresh tomato sauce as in make it yourself – from tomatoes.
If you can make the sauce mid-day or the day before, that will help a lot. But, you ask, couldn’t I just open a can of tomatoes? Of course you could, but the freshness of the sauce really brightens and lightens the casserole. I mean if it wasn’t tomato season you probably should open a can, but part of the joy of this dish is the tradition of making it right about now every year. To tell you the truth though, the eggplant slices fried with that panko/parmesan coating are so delicious on their own that if you just wanted to stop there and skip the sauce and cheese and everything I wouldn’t blame you. You’ll find the recipe here. You might want to follow this with a dessert of Lambrusco and summer fruit. That would be nice.
Can I tell you something else? Last Thursday night I made a new (to me) recipe and it’s another keeper – a chicken dish that I found on a recent Barefoot Contessa show (don’t you just love Ina Garten and wish she were like your best friend?) It’s the Rao’s Lemon Chicken dish from the restaurant in New York City. Broiling the chicken was a revelation to me. I thought it would make a giant mess, but that wasn’t a problem at all. It gets much messier and smokier in my oven when I roast a chicken. I had the butcher cut up the chicken, so that made things extra easy. And the lemon sauce was heaven. With crusty bread as the recipe suggested and a simple salad – really divine. You’ll find the recipe here. I was so excited to eat that dinner that I forgot to take a picture for you. Oh well, Bon Appetit!
p.s. See that red and white checked napkin in the top photo? My mom made that in the seventies. She was not into sewing like her sisters Ruthie and Kay, but she did take this one class (what was it called? See and Sew or something like that …) and she finished four placemats and four napkins. I think she’d be tickled to know I still have them and use them. I’m just glad I had the foresight to hold onto them.