Greasy, fried, overcooked and drowning in red sauce and too much cheese.
It's the typical experience with the classic eggplant Parmesan, or eggplant alla parmigiana. The usual suspects involve breading and frying slices of eggplant, then dumping on tomato sauce and piling on cheese before baking or broiling the whole thing to oblivion. Yum!
For this recipe, I opted for a more casual approach that lets the supposed star ingredient shine. Eggplant slices get a simple brush with olive oil and a dash of seasonings, before landing on the grill.
After grilling, the slices are stacked with tomato slices (hold the sauce, please), a bit of Parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. It's a lighter, more flavorful way to enjoy late-season eggplant and tomatoes.
GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMESAN
Start to finish: 20 minutes
11⁄2-pound eggplant (or multiple smaller eggplants), ends trimmed, cut into twelve 1⁄2-inch slices
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dry oregano
2 large slicing tomatoes, ends trimmed, each cut into 4 thick slices
1 large ball fresh mozzarella, cut into 4 thick slices
3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat a grill to medium-high. Lightly oil the grates.
Sprinkle the eggplant slices with the salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic powder, black pepper and oregano. Use a basting brush to coat both sides of each eggplant slice with the oil mixture.
Grill the eggplant for about 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned.
Heat the broiler. Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil or cooking spray.
On the prepared baking sheet, arrange 4 slices of the eggplant. Top each with a slice of tomato, then a slice of the mozzarella cheese. Top each with another slice of eggplant, followed by another slice of tomato and a final slice of eggplant.
Drizzle each stack with balsamic vinegar, then top with Parmesan cheese. Broil on the oven's bottom rack until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 497 calories; 351 calories from fat; 39 g fat (15 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 55 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrate; 24 g protein; 7 g fiber; 1,023 mg sodium.