Friday, September 12, 2014

Veal and Eggplant Parmigiana

There was more of the veal cube steak on sale at the market, but only half a pound.  To make this a full meal for four, I added one eggplant to be the other half of the "meat".  The end result was a beautifully stacked, relatively balanced meal.  For the sake of this recipe, I'll allow twice the meat to make the eggplant slices come out even.  Each serving ended up with one slice with veal and one without.  Since our baker quit, I've been baking five days a week.  My metabolism has gone up from the insane amount of lifting and running around, so I can get away with dishes like this.  Enjoying it while I can.

I had to buy breadcrumbs.  Never thought I'd do that again, but I only had one slice of bread left and this was the easy option.  Unseasoned panko crumbs give a lot of crunch and you can flavor them however you like.  I bought the smaller canister.  It will not take me another four years to go through this one.

This was about the time I was expecting to pop open a quart jar of homemade marinara.  Brad has put out a total of two edible tomatoes, with several starting to rot before ripening.  Cherry is ready to beat the pants off him as soon as her half-dozen green tomatoes ripen.  Combined, their output wouldn't fill a half-pint jar, much less a quart.  The poor quart jars appear to be destined for stock and homemade beverages.  Ooh, but Artie has started to grow again!  I noticed the sprout a couple of weeks ago, and it was probably at least a week old then.  I don't check the spot often, because that's crazy.  Of course, I keep checking the pumpkins daily for new buds, but that's because I can hand-pollinate if any females bloom.

This recipe is based largely upon Table for Two's eggplant parmesan and this Food Network offering of veal parmigiana.  Both had wonderful techniques for developing both tenderness and crunch.  And then I messed with it.

1 large eggplant
vegetable oil as needed (not olive oil)
1-1/2 C panko bread crumbs
*1/2 C grated parmesan cheese, divided
*1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 egg
1/4 C flour
1 lb veal cube steak
2 C marinara, doctored up as much as you want
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
*fresh basil for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 425º.  Slice the eggplant into 8 thick slices.  Lightly smear bottom of an 8" x 12" casserole with oil, then arrange slices in it so you're sure everything is going to fit later on, then flip over the slices so you have a bit of oil on both sides.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, until about half-cooked, then place to the side to cool slightly.  Reduce oven to 350º.
2.  While the eggplant is cooking and cooling, prepare the dredge and skillet: Stir together bread crumbs,  1/4 C parmesan, and Italian seasoning in a pie plate.  In another pie plate, beat together egg and 2 Tb water.  On a third pie plate, scatter flour.  Cut the cube steaks so you have 8 pieces.  Those can go in the flour now and wait their turn.  For the skillet, choose a 10" and pour in just enough oil to barely coat the bottom.  Eggplant will absorb as much oil as you give it.  Preheat skillet over medium until water pops on the oil.

3.  Turn several eggplant slices over in egg, then in crumbs, to coat.  Add as many to the skillet as fit comfortably and fry until coating is lightly browned and crispy, about 5 minutes.  Turn and fry other side, then return the slices to the casserole and go at it again with the rest of them and a little more oil.

4.  Cover each cooked slice of eggplant with about 2 Tb of pasta sauce.  Then sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over all.  Heat up some more oil in the skillet.

5.  Take the flour-coated pieces of veal and dip them in the egg.  Coat with breadcrumbs and place in skillet.  These only need to cook for one minute on each side, less if they look like they're almost done. Don't worry if they're still a bit raw in the middle, because this whole thing is going in the oven.  Place each slice of cooked veal on top of a slice of eggplant.

6.  Spoon more pasta sauce over veal, about another 2 Tb per piece.  Scatter mozzarella over pieces and sprinkle top with any remaining breadcrumbs.  Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.  This should be enough time to make the pasta for it.  For a browned top, place under broiler for 2 minutes.  Allow to rest 5 minutes before trying to transfer it from the casserole to a plate.  Serve with spaghetti and a few bits of fresh basil as garnish, two slices to a serving.

Difficulty rating  :)

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