Winter is the perfect time to make something that has a lot of cheese. A pot of fondue works. So does a grilled cheese sandwich. There's something about a great quantity of melty, gooey cheese that counteracts the long nights of January through March, and perhaps the king of cheese-heavy comfort dishes is Eggplant Parmesan. Is it as easy as breaking out a pan and melting cheese on bread? No, it is not.
Eggplant Parmesan is one of those dishes that require a certain level of commitment. Prepping the fried eggplant slices, making the sauce, and grating the cheese all require some effort and time. And I’m certain that any Italian nonna knows exactly how to create the precise amounts of each of these key elements to end up with one perfect family-sized pan of parm.
So you’ve brought home a shiny, nearly black eggplant from the grocery store. Or your farmer tucked a few striped, egg-size eggplants into your CSA box. Or you picked up a few slender, neon-purple eggplants at the farmer’s market. Now what?
It's easy to look at an eggplant and declare, "Nope." After all, it has a strange shape, an atypical color, and the inside of it resembles a dried out cucumber. I can kind of see how some people can't find it appetizing at face value.
I know you’ve all experienced it; that mid-afternoon phone call from your spouse that elicits nothing but fear, cold sweats and utter distain.
“Hey babe! What’s for dinner tonight? I hope it’s ok that I invited the So-and-So’s over.”
*Pause for dramatic effect, moment of heart palpitations, eye bulge and any additional illustrative expressions.*
“N…No… It’s not ok! I, I don’t have anything to cook. I’ll have to go buy something! The house isn’t clean- I have NOTHING to cook!”