I grew up dreading the days when my mom would announce we were having Eggplant Parmesan for dinner. I just couldn’t stand the stuff. My father, on the other hand, ate it with gusto. Oddly enough, a day or two later, after eating it in an omelette for breakfast and yet once more for dinner as leftovers, Dad would complain that the eggplant had torn up his mouth and he didn’t want it again for a long time. This pattern repeated itself countless times in my youth. (I have looked it up and some people actually do get mouth sores from eating eggplant. Dad wasn’t nuts, just sensitive).
All these years later, I have found that I actually love eggplant; even Eggplant Parmesan. It starts with an amazing sauce. I learned in The Frankie’s Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual how to make the best darned Italian gravy (aka spaghetti sauce) ever. Ever. You can find the recipe in the preview of the book on Amazon. Anyway, that sauce is now the base for this dish as well as for any other Italian pasta dish I make (unless of course I have no time. Then it’s Newman’s Own Sockarooni Pasta Sauce)
So how to make this delicious dish gluten free? Before, in the carefree days of eating any grain, I’d use seasoned bread crumbs. I cannot bring myself to crumble up a $6 loaf of bread to make GF bread crumbs (besides the fact that that bread closely resembles saw dust). Instead, I used a bag of fish fry which is basically seasoned corn meal. I accidentally used New Orleans style, so there was some unexpected heat in the dish. It wasn’t bad, just more Cajun than Italian.
- 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup seasoned fish fry (cornmeal)
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- Combine the 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese and the seasoned fish fry in a shallow pan (like a pie plate).
- Dip slices of eggplant in olive oil and then into the cornmeal to coat.
- Fry in a non-stick skillet coated with vegetable spray until golden brown on each side.
- Place ½ cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of 9X9 oven safe pan.
- Layer eggplant, sauce, cheeses, repeat, ending with cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes or until cheese turns slightly golden brown.