Eggplant Parmigiana Medallions
You can make this dish using as many slices of eggplant as you like. The recipe is adapted from “Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home” by Mario Batali (HarperCollins, $37.50).
2 eggplants (about 1 pound each), washed
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 to 3 cups favorite tomato-based pasta sauce with basil
Fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade, optional
6 to 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 12 slices
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
To prepare the eggplant: Slice off the stem end and bottom end of the eggplant. Using a serrated knife, slice each eggplant into 6 even slices — about 11/2 inches thick. Place the slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle each slice with salt. Let it set 30 minutes. Rinse the slices thoroughly and pat them dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Pour the olive oil on a sided baking sheet and place it in the oven while it heats.
Once the oven is heated, carefully remove the baking sheet and place the eggplant slices on it.
Return to the oven and bake about 12-15 minutes. Turn the slices over when they are nicely brown, after about 6-8 minutes. Bake the slices until they are just tender, but firm enough to hold their shape. Transfer to a platter. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Arrange 6 of the largest eggplant slices in the bottom of a baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of the sauce over each slice, and, if using, sprinkle with a few shreds of basil. Top with 1 slice of the mozzarella and sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons Parmesan. Top with 6 more slices of eggplant and repeat the layering.
Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the top.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and tops are lightly browned. Serve the eggplant medallions hot, warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 284 calories (55 percent from fat), 18 grams fat (5 grams sat. fat), 20 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 750 mg sodium, 14 mg cholesterol, 8 grams fiber.