This makes a deliciously satisfying main dish with just a salad and the ubiquitous crusty Italian bread. The recipe from the restaurant calls for "marinara sauce," but Il Mulino did not include a recipe for it. Use your favorite sauce recipe or brand. • 2 (1 1 / 2-pound) fresh, firm eggplants (about 4 inches in diameter at their widest parts) • Salt, to taste • 1 / 3 cup all-purpose flour • 3 large eggs • 2 tablespoons water • 2 cups breadcrumbs • 3 / 4 teaspoon dried oregano • 3 / 4 teaspoon garlic powder • 1 cup plus 1 1 / 2 tablespoons fresh-grated parmesan cheese • Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste • Vegetable oil, for frying • 4 cups marinara sauce • 12 ounces thin-sliced mozzarella cheese Trim the ends and peel both eggplants. Cut crosswise into 1 / 2-inch-thick slices (you want 8 good slices from each). Lightly salt the eggplant and let drain in a large colander set in the sink 30 minutes. Pat each piece dry. Place the flour in a large flat bowl. Place the egg and water in another large, flat bowl and lightly whisk to combine. Mix the breadcrumbs with the oregano, garlic powder, 1 1 / 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in another bowl. Lightly coat each piece of eggplant with flour. Then dip into the egg mixture to coat both sides letting excess drip off. Then coat both sides of the eggplant slices with breadcrumbs shaking off any excess. In a large, heavy skillet, heat about 1 / 8 inch vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Saute the eggplant slices 1 to 1 1 / 2 minutes a side or until golden brown. Remove to paper towels to drain. You will need to do this in several batches to avoid crowding. You may also need to add additional oil. When all the eggplant slices have been cooked, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover the bottom of a nonreactive 13-by-9-inch baking pan with 1 cup marinara sauce. Place half the eggplant slices in a single layer on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1 / 3 cup parmesan cheese, a third of the mozzarella cheese slices and half the remaining marinara sauce (about 1 1 / 2 cups). Layer the remaining eggplant slices neatly over the first layer neatly lining up the slices with those on the bottom of the pan to form easy-to-serve stacks. Top with the remaining marinara sauce, the remaining parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella cheese slices. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the mixture bubbles. Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 462 calories, 47 percent calories from fat, 24 grams total fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 124 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams total fiber, 6 grams total sugars, 30 grams net carbs, 25 grams protein, 1,238 milligrams sodium.
Michael Francis McElroy / Sun Sentinel
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