Friday, September 20, 2013

Eggplant Artichoke Parmesan

I was looking at this recipe: http://lickmyspoon.com/recipes/ridiculously-good-baked-eggplant-parm/

I had some baby eggplant that my mom had brought over (home grown) and I'd roasted them all in olive oil on Wednesday night.  I'd used some of them in a modified caprese salad with some tomato, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and a bit of Romesco sauce (using this recipe, sort of: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/romesco-sauce/  (I used tiny red and yellow tomatoes from my mom's garden, and sweet peppers from the garden (6 of them I think), and slivered almonds and a head of garlic.  I also used balsamic vinegar, maybe two tablespoons.).

Anyway, we didn't eat all of the salad and I had a lot of roasted eggplant left.  I'm a bit weird about eggplant.  I like it but I knew I wouldn't eat the rest of that salad.  I didn't think I had enough eggplant for the parm in the link above, so I thought maybe it would be good with some artichoke hearts.


Ingredients:
6-8 baby eggplant
LOTS of olive oil
1/2 cup of romesco sauce from recipe above
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
about 14 oz of artichoke hearts (I used around half a jar of the Kirkland marinated artichoke hearts from Costco--I think it's 33 oz of artichokes), cut up.
6 oz of red wine
6 oz water
16 oz ricotta cheese
12 oz mozzarella (I really used a bit less than this because I had a little less than 8 oz of fresh mozzarella in a ball and then maybe 2 ounces of the Swiss and Gruyere shredded mix from Trader Joe's)
1 cup plus 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crushed garlic stuff from Trader Joe's or else 2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 1/2 a tomato
a few leaves of basil
1 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450.  Slice up your baby eggplant and spread around in a baking dish.  Generously douse with olive oil.  Bake for around 30 minutes until tender.  (This can be done at any time.)

If doing right before you make the rest of the parm, lower oven temp to 375.

For the sauce: empty two cans of tomato paste into a sauce pan.  Add in one can filled with wine and one can filled with water.  Chop up your tomato and your basil leaves and add in.  Add a scant tablespoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the romesco sauce.  Mix it all around and heat until a bit bubbly.

While the sauce is cooking, combine your ricotta cheese and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese in a bowl.  Chop up your mozzarella (or if you're using shredded, that's cool too).  Chop up your artichoke and combine that and the eggplant in a bowl.

Assembly:
Take a 9 x 11 baking dish and put about a half a cup of the sauce in the bottom.  Then put in half of your eggplant and artichoke mixture, then half of the remaining sauce, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the mozzarella, and then repeat the process (eggplant/artichoke mix, sauce, ricotta, mozzarella).  Stick it in the oven for 25 minutes.

For the panko topping: take your panko, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, teaspoon of garlic (or your minced cloves), and the 1/4 cup of parmesan.  Mix it all together.  After the 25 minutes of first baking, sprinkle the panko over the top and bake for another 20 minutes until nice and brown and bubbly.


Variations:
If you don't have Romesco sauce, I'm sure regular tomato sauce would be fine.  Or, use my tomato paste recipe and add in probably another large tomato and a diced red pepper.  There is also balsamic vinegar in the Romesco and a lot of garlic so you'd need to add that in as well for the flavor, I think.

This came out pretty oily because I really do put a lot of olive oil in my eggplant and the artichokes were marinated in oil as well.  I'm not complaining, though.  It's got a really nice combination of flavors and is pretty subtle.

Romesco sauce freezes well, and it's pretty amazing stuff all by itself.