Summer Eggplant Lasagna
- For the Eggplant:
- 1 eggplant
- 2 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 or 2 tablespoons butter, depending on taste
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- Scant 1/4 cup chopped peppadew peppers
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves pressed through a garlic press
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves
- Minced garlic
- Shredded Parmesan
- 1/2 (16-ounce) box lasagna noodles
- 1 pound ball fresh mozzerella cheese, cubed or shredded
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved and tossed with some vinaigrette, for garnish
Peel and slice the eggplant and salt it in a colander. Cover with paper towels and a tea kettle that is full and heavy. Let stand for about 1 hour until moisture is released. This first step is very important to remove any bitterness.
Batter the eggplant by dipping first in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder. (If you need to use store bought seasoned bread crumbs omit salt and pepper.)
In a deep sided fry pan heat the olive oil to 350 degrees F. Add a little butter (for flavor) and fry the eggplant in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
Make the vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, chopped peppadews, sugar, oregano and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Chop the mint and Italian parsley.
Spoon 2 tablespoons vinaigrette in the bottom of a large bowl. Layer eggplant slices with the chopped mint, parsley, and the vinaigrette. Top with more of the vinaigrette and marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Cook's note: you can also add to the layers more minced garlic and shredded Parmesan.)
Boil the lasagna noodles with a little oil, so that they do not stick, and some salt, to impart some flavor.
In a beautiful serving dish layer the marinated eggplant, the noodles, then sprinkle with some fresh mozzarella, then the basil and finally drizzle with the vinaigrette. Repeat until all the layers are formed, making sure that the noodle is not the last layer. Garnish with cherry tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve at room temperature for the best summer lasagna. Manga!!!
Recipe courtesy Elizabeth Morath