Eggplant Lasagna with Marinated Red Pepper and Arugula Salad

Total Time:
1 hr 45 min
35 min
1 hr 10 min

6 to 8 servings

  • Marinara:
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Chinese eggplants, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 cup diced white onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup sliced garlic
  • 2 Fresno peppers, sliced
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ounce guanciale, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Three 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Seasoned Breadcrumbs:
  • 4 cups day-old breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Eggplant:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 Chinese eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Marinated Peppers:
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 oil-packed anchovies, minced
  • 2 Calabrian chiles, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 6 stalks chives, halved
  • For Serving:
  • 4 thin rounds pancetta
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
  • Special equipment: a deep fryer and an immersion blender

  • For the marinara: Preheat the canola oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and fry until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and carrot, reduce the heat and cook until the vegetables are soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, Fresno peppers, basil, guanciale and parsley and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth and finish with the butter.

  • For the seasoned breadcrumbs: Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, olive oil, parsley, garlic and oregano in a shallow baking dish.

  • For the eggplant: Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow baking dish. Whisk the eggs with 1/2 cup of water in a second shallow baking dish. Dredge each eggplant slice in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour and place each slice into the egg wash. Once fully coated in the egg wash, dip the slices into the seasoned breadcrumbs. Repeat this process until all the eggplant slices are finished and fully coated.

  • Cook the coated eggplant slices in the deep fryer in batches until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and pat dry. Line a 9- by 5-inch baking dish with 1 cup of the marinara. Arrange a layer of fried eggplant slices on top of the marinara. Cover with another 1/2 cup of marinara, 1/4 cup of mozzarella and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan. Repeat this process 2 more times. Add 1 more layer of fried eggplant slices followed by 1/2 cup of marinara.

  • Use parchment paper to gently press the eggplant down into the baking dish for a snug fit. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

  • For the marinated peppers: Turn on the broiler.

  • Gently toss the red and yellow bell peppers in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer to a roasting pan and broil until all sides are charred. Set aside at room temperature until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes. Peel the peppers, remove the seeds and cut the flesh into large strips.

  • Combine the garlic, anchovies, Calabrian chiles and the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar, brown sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the roasted peppers to the saucepan and let them sit for 5 minutes. Remove the peppers and set aside.

  • To serve: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Lay the rounds of pancetta on the prepared baking sheet and bake until crispy and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Toss the marinated peppers with the arugula and chives in a large bowl. Arrange the salad on a serving platter and garnish with the pancetta and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serve with the eggplant Parmesan.

Contestant/Competition Recipe: This recipe was created by a contestant during a cooking competition. The Food Network Kitchen have not tested it for home use and therefore cannot make any representation as to the results.

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