Sunday, July 31

Solar Crunchy-Crusted Eggplant Parmigiana

I know. I know. It seems impossible, but, I did it. It all started with reading Jaz's fantastic October Farm blog where she was cooking eggplant parmigiana, and I had this big eggplant in my fridge begging to be a featured player in a solar menu. You need to know, up front, that there's no contest between Jaz and me when it comes to cooking (she wins, hands down, in my opinion) -- well, when it comes to anything, really. Suffice to say, I covet her cooking, her yard and gardens, her dog Teddy, her whole togetherness, and, if you check her out, I know you will, too. BUT -- and this is a BIG but -- she fries her parmigiana in about an inch of hot oil and, well, that just doesn't work in a solar oven. That just means I had to find another way to get my tender eggplant in a crunchy crust just like hers, and do it by solar cooking, too. Well, slap my knees and just call me fritter-pated!  It worked! So good, I've submitted it to It's a Keeper Thursdays. Check it out and add your own!

I used my own tomato sauce and cheese recipes, along with farfalle, but you owe it to yourself to try out Jaz's recipe. I was focusing on a process and wasn't going to let lack of some ingredients stop me. Cook the pasta according to package directions or use my simple bring the water to a boil, add the pasta, bring back to a boil, then cover and remove from heat. In 15 minutes for thin or 20 minutes for dense, your pasta will be a perfect al dente. Use your favorite tomato pasta sauce and combine any three of your favorite cheeses. I used Colby, mozzarella, and Monterey Jack. The green dollop is Pesto Sauce from last year's basil harvest and frozen into little cubes for an ever-ready supply.

  • The Process: Preheat solar oven. Use pan with cooling rack to hold eggplant above pan bottom to have surround heat. Preheat SolarWear(R) Heating Bag to use beneath pan.
  • Sliced unpeeled eggplant into 1/2" slices, crosswise. Pulse one sleeve of saltines in processor and place in flat bowl. Place two beaten eggs in second flat bowl.
  • Dredge each eggplant slice, twice, in beaten eggs and then crumbs, for a nice coating.
  • Place on rack and bake in solar oven approximately 45-50 minutes. Use a fork to test for doneness. (Expect some resistance with the coating and then an easy slide into the eggplant.)

  • To Serve: Place a nice layer of drained pasta on plate.
  • Add eggplant slice. (I like to turn it over so that the grill indentations will catch more sauce.)
  • Spoon a layer of your favorite pasta sauce over eggplant.
  • Dab a little Pesto over tomato sauce.
  • Pour cheese sauce over top and add just a bit of Pesto for garni.
Enjoy your tender Solar Eggplant Parmigiana, with a crunchy crust.


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