Downturn Dish: Price-conscious parm

March 18, 2009

With summer on our collective doorstep, it's almost time to change your seasonal produce purchases. And this recipe, which can be made with eggplant or zucchini, will be fantastic in the warmer months. The recipe's contributor, Cara Tigue, currently works at Northwestern University but will start graduate school in the fall--which means she's already begun a quest for inexpensive, student-friendly dishes. She likes this meal because it's fast and uses some of her favorite veggies. Plus, as a die-hard Top Chef fan, she aims to maintain a high culinary standard in her own Lakeview kitchen; apparently this recipe is up to par. Eggplant and/or Zucchini Parmesan (about $10) Ingredients: 1 small eggplant and/or 2 medium zucchini squashes 2 eggs 1 cup bread crumbs (Italian flavor) 2 tbs grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese 1 jar tomato sauce 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley to taste Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice eggplant and/or zucchini into 1/4 in. slices. In a small bowl, beat together eggs with a whisk. Mix bread crumbs, grated cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley on a plate. Dip slices of eggplant/zucchini in egg wash and then into bread crumb mixture until completely coated. Place breaded slices on a cookie sheet greased with cooking spray. Back 10-15 minutes, turning once. Spread a layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish. Layer eggplant/zucchini on top of sauce, then a layer of mozzarella. Continue to layer sauce, vegetables, cheese. Bake approx. 25 minutes or until sauce is bubbling, cheese is lightly browned on top, and veggies are soft (but not soggy).