Friday, May 11, 2012

Greek Eggplant with Feta

Before I get started, I want you to know that I am learning how to use Photoshop and Flash for a project for my day job.  I decided to try it out on a couple of the pictures for my blog.   My next step in my quest to always improve this blog for my readers' enjoyment is to figure out a few more features on my camera.  I also plan on reading and learning more about food styling. 

Having never taken a photography lesson in my life, it is a challenge but it's a fun one at that.  As I strive to improve the photography on this blog over the next few months, please let me know what you think.  Feedback is the best learning tool.

Hey, I've never taken a cooking lesson in my life outside of Home Ec in junior high, and I think I am doing pretty good in that department.  I CAN and I will master the photos.


Greek Eggplant with Feta

Tonight's recipe is a variation of the classic eggplant Parmesan.   I used dry feta; that is feta that is not packed in liquid but comes in a block.  You will find that this type of feta is firmer and melts more like mozzarella or provolone cheese.   So it's perfect for this dish.  Keeping it lighter, opt for a low fat or fat free cheese.  

My eggplant was farmer's market fresh.  I added a little bit of Balsamic vinegar to the beaten egg to mix it up a bit. 

It is so good.

Serves 2 (each serving is five slices of eggplant). 
Note:  If you are on a diet, you might wish to cut the amount of cheese used in half. 

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into ten even sized round pieces
2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 cup seasoned Italian Bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for passing at the table
Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces low fat block feta cheese (cut into cubes)
1 cup Marinara sauce (your favorite)
6 or 7 sliced, pitted black Greek olives
Fresh torn basil, for topping
Fresh chopped oregano, for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sliced eggplant in bowl full of cold water mixed with one tablespoon of salt.   Let the eggplant soak in the water for at least 15 minutes.  This helps to remove the bitterness.




Beat egg and whisk in vinegar.  

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. 

Remove eggplant from salty water. Dip each slice into the egg and then into the bread crumbs, coating liberally. Transfer to a baking dish (oven and broiler safe) coated with cooking spray. Drizzle the olive oil evenly (but lightly) over the egg plant slices.




Carefully spray the tops of the slices with more cooking spray. 

Bake eggplant for about twenty minutes until it begins to soften. 

Remove pan from oven and turn on the broiler. 




While broiler is heating, top eggplant slices with equal amounts of the cheese.

Broil for five minutes until cheese bubbles.

Meanwhile, heat your marinara sauce and chop the olives and the herbs.  

Once eggplant is ready, remove from broiler.  Plate five slices on each plate.  Top with a little of the sauce, the olives and the herbs.  I like to serve a little extra sauce on the side. 

Have a little more time?  You can try my marinara sauce recipe (this is an oldie but a goodie).  http://welcometojustforcooking.blogspot.com/2011/06/steak-pizzaiola.html

Note:  The reason that I use a baking dish with sides instead of using a flat cookie sheet is that the eggplant doesn't dry out as quickly while baking.




Enjoy!

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