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by nick, ripping off some TV chef i saw a few years ago... molto mario? this is both quick and easy. i use my own tomato sauce, but storebought is fine if that's how you roll. i also grow my own eggplant. and make my own cheese. AND I INVENTED THE PIANO KEY NECKTIE. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
- wash (but do not peel) eggplant. slice laterally into pieces a half inch thick.
- put the eggplant in a colander and salt it generously. let the eggplant sit and "weep" half an hour--you can omit this step, if you're worried about sodium, but the eggplant will be bitter. don't say i didn't warn you.
- wash off the eggplant slices, and pat dry.
- preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
- set up two bowls, one with a beaten egg, the other with the breadcrumbs. dip the slices in the egg, making sure to get both sides of the slice. take the egged-slices, and dredge them gently in the breadcrumbs.
- heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a pan. when the oil almost smokes--and other than the flavor, this is why you have to use e.v.o.o: normal olive oil or other oils smoke at a higher temperature--place a few slices off eggplant into the pan at a time. cook for two or three minutes, periodically checking the color on the pan-side of the slice.
- when the slices are golden-brown on the pan-side, flip, and cook again. place on paper towels to dry.
- repeat until all the eggplant is cooked. add more oil and let the oil reheat as necessary.
- give a cookie sheet a shot of the non-stick cooking spray. place the four largest eggplant slices close to each other (but not touching) on the sheet. put two tablespoons of sauce and some cheese on top of each slice. put the four next-largest slices on top of each, and put sauce and cheese on top again, building the towers until all the eggplant is used up.
- put the cookie sheet in the oven, and cook the eggplant until the cheese melts and browns slightly.
- season, and eat!