Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Skinny Gourmet Guy's Eggplant Parmesan

Substituting a few tablespoons of goat cheese
for a large serving of mozzarella cuts calories and fat

I love eggplant parmesan.  I recently ordered it at Coppola's, a neighborhood joint on West 79th Street.  They deep fry the eggplant and smother it in mozzarella and parmesan cheese - what's not to like?  Last week I went to the Skinny Gourmet Guy test kitchen and came up with a recipe that is delicious, but with considerably less cheese and I browned the eggplant on the stovetop with just cooking spray and no oil.  It came out great!

Partially peel the eggplant

I figured that a little goat cheese can go a long way so instead of using a ton of it, I dolloped 3 tablespoons and spread it out to cover as much surface as possible.  I dotted little bits of it evenly over the eggplant.  I grated a small amount of parmesan across before baking so it would melt and form a crunchy/gooey layer across the top.

Cut eggplant into 3/4" slices

Cover in sea salt and wrap in paper towels -
the sea salt draws out the liquid in the eggplant

Weigh down a heavy object (here I used my cast iron skill)
and place on eggplant slices to help them dry.  Let stand for a few hours

You'll be surprised at the large amount of liquid is drawn out

The last thing you want is soggy eggplant.  You can draw out a large amount of liquid by sprinkling slices with a generous amount of sea salt and wrapping them in paper towels.  I then put my heavy cast iron skillet over the slices and weigh it down with bottles of seltzer and olive oil.  This helps to draw and squeeze out excess water.

Fry in non-stick pan and cooking spray

Eggplant is like a sponge so instead of browning in olive oil I used cooking spray and my non-stick Le  Creuset frying pan.  They take about 2 minutes or so each side - keep an eye on them, they can burn in a second. 

Line the bottom of a casserole dish with marinara

Cobble together a layer of eggplant

I had planned to put the eggplant slices in the casserole dish as is, but it was clear that they weren't going to fit.  So I cut them in half and arranged them in the dish.

First Layer

Second layer with goat cheese

Sliced cherry tomatoes

More marinara

About 1/8 cup of grated parmesan on top

This could also be called Eggplant Lasagna - I layered the eggplant, goat cheese and marinara as you would with lasagna.  I only had to layers of the eggplant.  I added sliced cherry tomatoes on the top layer, then finished with marinara and 1/8th cup of grated parmesan.

Et Viola!

I baked the eggplant mixture in the oven for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  The goat cheese melted nicely and spread out while it baked.  Goat cheese has 102 calories per ounce, 73 of which are fat calories.  This dish uses 1.5 ounces of goat cheese.  It goes a longer way than mozzarella - 1.5 grams of mozzarella wouldn't have been enough in this dish.  It's not that mozzarella has more calories and fat (1 ounce has about 170 calories, 111 of which are from fat). The tomatoes roasted perfectly and the dish was really delicious. 


1 medium eggplant
2 cups marinara (you can buy prepared;  I'll publish my recipe in a future post)
3 tbspns goat cheese
1/8 cup parmesan
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 - 5 tbspns Sea Salt
Cooking spray (such as Pam)
1/2 lemon


Peel eggplant partially  - leave appromately 1/4" ribbons
Cut horizontally
Sprinkle with a generous dose of sea salt
Wrap in paper towels
Weigh down with heavy object to help squeeze out liquid; let stand for 4 - 6 hours
Spray non-stick pan with cooking spray over medium heat
Fry the eggplant slices until brown - about 2 - 3 minutes per side
Remove eggplant from pan, cut in half for easy assemblage in casserole dish
Spoon in a layer of marinara on the bottom of casserole dish
Fit in eggplant slices
top with goat cheese - put small dollops across the top
Add another layer of marinara
Add another layer of eggplant slices
Spoon in the remaining goat cheese and spread
Hint: leave the goat cheese on the kitchen counter for the afternoon so it is soft and spreadable
Distribute the cherry tomatoes across the top
Add one more layer of marinara
Add grated parmesan evenly across the top
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes
Squeeze lemon juice over the top
Serve and enjoy

This is on of those dishes that is delicious the next day

Note: I didn't serve with pasta

I served the eggplant parmesan as is and didn't include pasta.  I did, however, serve parmesan, garlic and herb focaccia from Epicieri Boulud.  Rather than serve the entire piece, I cut it into portions and froze the rest.  It freezes nicely and even though it was a small portion, I didn't feel deprived of carbs.

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