Carbless Eggplant Parmesan

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It’s a sad thing for foodies when our metabolisms slow down to a place where we have to think about how much of a certain thing we put into our bodies. That being said, when I can find a recipe that works and tastes well without bread, I’m overjoyed with hope that I can still enjoy delicious meals, sans guilt. One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Queens called Tuscan Hills, has a great breadless eggplant parmesan dish that comes in a ceramic boat fresh out of the broiler with browned, bubbling cheese on top. It is an absolute delight and I believe the key to the flavor is in the sauce and oil the eggplant is fried in. One of my favorite things to do is recreate dishes I love on my restaurant outings. Here is my attempt to do so in my kitchen.

Ingredients for Carbless Eggplant Parmesan:

Two small eggplants or one large eggplant
Vegetable,Canola or Olive oil for frying eggplant
Kosher salt
Mozzarella cheese sliced
Grated pecorino or parmesan cheese for top layer
1-2 cups of prepared tomato sauce

Baking dish Method: Slice your eggplant(s) into thin rounds, 1/4 inch. Sprinkle them lightly with salt and let them sit out for at least half an hour, until you see a brownish juice emanating from the slices. The salt is drawing out any bitterness the eggplant may contain. Pat each slice dry and set aside.
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In a skillet, heat up two tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Keep the bottle next to you as you may need to add more oil as the eggplant cooks. Once the oil is hot, begin frying your eggplant. When you see the tops of eggplants begin to become translucent, that is a good time to flip it and cook the other side. You will need to flip them a few times before they are cooked through with a nice brown crust so pay attention. Once you’re done frying all the pieces, they should be draining on a plate lined with paper towels.
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You can now start layering in your baking dish. First, cover the bottom of the dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce, 1/4 inch should suffice.
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Then add one layer of the cooked eggplant. It’s okay if they overlap a little.
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Then cover with another thin layer of tomato sauce and top with sliced mozzarella. Continue the eggplant/sauce/mozzarella layers until you reach the top or run out of ingredients.
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I like to leave the mozzarella off the top layer and sprinkle the top generously with pecorino or parmesan cheese.
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Then drizzle olive oil over the top and bake the dish at 350 for approximately 15 minutes, or until the cheese layers below are melted. For the finishing touch, put the oven on high broil and watch for the top layer of cheese to bubble and turn brown, but take care not to burn it. ALWAYS watch the dish when it’s on broil.
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And there you have it, low-carb, guilt free, eggplant parmesan. As a disclaimer, I need to stress the importance of a good sauce in this dish, because a lot of flavor is sacrificed by forgoing the usual breading and deep frying of more traditional eggplant parms. So take good care of your sauce.

As a P.S., if you have leftover ingredients, I like to assemble mini eggplant parms in ramekins. i.e. below. So cute and handy when you need a small snack or dinner for one =)

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