I have always avoided eggplant because, well, I sort of think it tastes like a big yucky sponge. Rob seems to really love it though so I thought I would try this variation of an Ina Garten recipe... because the cheese should make the eggplant edible right? Yes! This dish is so tasty... I served it with pasta tossed with marinara sauce. So yummy! This dish would also be really yummy with zuchinni in the place of eggplant.
* Good olive oil, for frying
* 1.5 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
* 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
* 2 large eggs
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 cup marinara sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, eggs, milk, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
In a 9 x 13" baking dish, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, salt and pepper and marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, the ricotta mixture, and finally the remaining Parmesan.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.