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Photo: James Carrier Photo by: Photo: James Carrier

Oven-Crusted Eggplant and Fennel Parmesan

Notes: Crush fennel seed in a mortar, or enclose in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Sunset MARCH 2000

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings


  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Italian-style fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed (see notes)
  • 1 eggplant (1 lb.)
  • 1 head (4 in. wide) fennel
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups canned fat-free tomato pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • Salt and pepper


1. In a bowl, beat egg whites and oil to blend. In another bowl, mix crumbs and fennel seed.

2. Rinse eggplant; trim and discard ends. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Trim stalks from fennel head; rinse and reserve 1/4 cup feathery green leaves. Trim and discard fennel root end, bruised areas, and coarse fibers. Rinse fennel and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices.

3. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, lift out, drain briefly, and coat with crumb mixture. Arrange slices in a single layer on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Mix fennel, 1/2 at a time, with egg mixture. Lift out with a slotted spoon, drain briefly, then add to crumb mixture. Mix and lift from crumbs. Spread pieces in a single layer on another 12- by 15-inch baking sheet.

4. Bake in a 450° oven until vegetables are well browned and eggplant is soft when pressed, 15 to 20 minutes; if using 1 oven, switch pan positions after 7 to 9 minutes. Remove fennel from oven and discard any scorched crumbs. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/2 the cheese. Bake until cheese is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes more.

5. Meanwhile, in a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir pasta sauce and wine until boiling, 2 to 4 minutes.

6. Arrange equal amounts of eggplant and fennel on warm dinner plates; garnish with fennel leaves. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Spoon sauce onto plates; add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 340
  • Calories from fat: 29%
  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 11g
  • Saturated fat: 4.7g
  • Carbohydrate: 39g
  • Fiber: 4.8g
  • Sodium: 1656mg
  • Cholesterol: 17mg