Baked Eggplant (Melitzanes) Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan makes a wonderful vegetarian side dish. Rather than fry the eggplant, Eva prefers to bake them in the oven with a little olive oil for about 20 minutes. It is delicious and a much healthier alternative to the traditional recipe.

To prepare the eggplant:
4 eggplants (Eva uses the long slender eggplant, but you could use the larger type if you prefer)
Salt
1/3 cup of olive oil
About 1 cup of mozzarella cheese (shredded)
About ½ a cup of parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon of breadcrumbs

To prepare the sauce:
1 small onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup of tomato juice
½ teaspoon of basil

Clean the eggplants well and cut them in ¼ inch slices. Salt the sliced eggplant and allow the bitter juices to sweat out. Wash the eggplant under running water and drain them well. Place the sliced eggplants on a pan and brush each piece with olive oil. Bake the eggplant in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 cup of tomato juice. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to thicken (about 10 minutes). When the sauce is just about finished add the basil.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To assemble the dish, begin by putting a small amount of sauce on the bottom of your pan. Spread a layer of eggplants on the sauce, and add another small spoonful of sauce. Add a handful of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle some parmesan cheese. Add another small spoonful of sauce on the cheese. Repeat until you have used up all of the eggplant slices. Add the remaining tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Bake the dish in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Allow the dish to cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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