9 Things You Can “Parm” (Other Than Eggplant)

Cauliflower Parmesan? Yes please!

Cauliflower Parmesan

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

There is nothing more comforting to me than a saucy, unctuous plate of eggplant Parmigiana. In fact, it is my all-time favorite thing to eat on the planet. It was a staple of Friday night meals at my grandmother’s house in the Bronx, and I always order when I see it on a menu. There is something irresistible about the way tangy sauce, milky cheese and fried eggplant bake together into one cohesive magnificent mess.

The dish originated in Italy with eggplant and was simply called Parmigiana. As with all things among Italians, there are many arguments about exactly where and how. In Parma, they insist it’s named after their town and their namesake cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Sicilians lay claim to their version with pecorino cheese, insisting the name Parmigiana derives from words for how the eggplant is arranged in a lattice or shingled pattern. Naples and Southern Italy have their version with mozzarella cheese. When Italian immigrants brought the dish to the states, it’s no surprise that it evolved and took on other ingredients like chicken and veal.

And today, we continue evolving the dish to apply the “parm” treatment to ingredients beyond eggplant. Because why should this delicious technique be confined to just one veggie? Many veggies lend themselves to the dish. In fact, I recently baked thinly sliced albacore tuna Milanese with sauce and mozzarella, and guess what? It worked – despite the popular opinion that fish should never be paired with cheese. Instead of asking yourself what else can you “parm,” I think the better question is: what can’t you “parm”?!

You can’t beat this hearty and satisfying dish: panko-coated fried cauliflower gets doused in marinara sauce and slices of fresh mozzarella.

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Food stylist: Adrienne Anderson Prop stylist: Leslie Siegel

Photo by: Andrew McCaul

Andrew McCaul

Portobello mushrooms’ earthy flavor and meaty texture work perfectly in this version.

Zucchini sticks go from appetizer to star entrée in this recipe, which adds a little prosciutto and ricotta cheese. Dare we say this is a slightly lighter version of “Parm”?

FN Flat Recipe: Pumpkin Parmigiana, Pomodoro Sauce

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

For a lightly sweet take on “parm,” try this easy baked dish. Sliced pumpkin is layered with homemade pomodoro sauce, Parmesan cheese and basil leaves in a baking dish, then roasted until just tender.

Ah… hearts of palm. What else do you do with them besides adding them to a salad? A Chopped challenge gave way to this brilliant answer: pairing hearts of palm with tomato sauce and Parmesan, where they take on pasta’s characteristics.

Food Network KitchenEggplant and Kale ParmesanHealthy EatsFood Network,Food Network Kitchen Eggplant and Kale Parmesan Healthy Eats Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

For a healthy rendition that’s full of flavor, eggplant slices are breaded in almond flour and egg whites, then broiled with tomatoey braised kale (and plenty of cheese).

Food Network Kitchen’s Southern Fried Chicken Parm.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz

Matt Armendariz

This version using southern fried chicken instead of chicken cutlets results in the ultimate comfort food.

Food beauty of Giadas Baked Turkey Parmesan as seen on Season 4 of Food Networks Giadas Holiday Handbook

Photo by: Melissa Libertelli

Melissa Libertelli

Use turkey instead of chicken for an entrée that’s perfect for your holiday table.

Here, a mix of eggplant, fennel and peppers are grilled to add another layer of flavor. Then they’re baked in a casserole dish with marinara, mozzarella, Parmesan and breadcrumbs.

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