WEEKDAYS 1e|12c|p

Mario Batali's Eggplant Parmigiana Packets

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A much lighter version than the all-too-typical eggplant Parm.
skill level
Easy
time
Over 120min
servings
6
cost
$
Grilling eggplant brings out its smoky flavor, and it requires far less oil than frying, making this a much lighter version than the all-too-typical tired eggplant Parm. Serve hot or at room temperature, two little packets per person.
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ingredients
  • 2 medium eggplant
  • About 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup Basic Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into 12 thin slices)
  • 12 fresh basil leaves cut into chiffonade (thin slivers)
kitchenware
step-by-step directions We've Made Cooking As Easy As 1-2-3! printer friendly version 
  • 1
    Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
  • 2
    2 medium eggplant 
    Trim the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, discarding the first and last slices from each one; you should have 12 slices.
  • 3
    About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
    Lay the slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush on both sides with olive oil, using about 3 tablespoons oil.
  • 4
    Place on the grill and cook, turning once, until golden brown and soft, about 2 minutes on each side; return the slices to the baking sheet as they are cooked.
  • 5
    3/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
    3/4 cup Basic Tomato Sauce
    In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, thyme, and tomato sauce.
  • 6
    Lay the eggplant slices out on a work surface, with a narrow end toward you.
  • 7
    Divide the bread crumb mixture among them, using a scant 1/4 cup for each and placing it on the lower half of each one.
  • 8
    1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    8 ounces fresh mozzarella (cut into 12 thin slices)
    Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano and lay the slices of mozzarella on top.
  • 9
    Fold the tops of the eggplant slices over to create little packages and transfer to a clean baking sheet.
  • 10
    Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight, to marry the flavors.
  • 11
    Preheat the gas grill again or prepare another fire in the charcoal grill.
  • 12
    About 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Carefully brush the eggplant packets on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • 13
    Place them gently on the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 2 minutes, or until nice grill marks appear on the first side.
  • 14
    Gently flip over with a large spatula and cook for 2 more minutes, or until marked on the second side and hot throughout. 
  • 15
    12 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (thin slivers)
    Carefully transfer the packets to a platter and sprinkle with the basil.
  • 16
    Serve hot or at room temperature.
 
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