eggplant bianca

Every year I’m in awe of just how many eggplants one plant can product and this year is no different. Here are a couple of shots of some of the eggplants I harvested out of our garden last year:

lola-rugula-eggplant-recipe

lola-rugula-eggplant-recipe

Beautiful, aren’t they?

This past weekend, I decided to try something new with my eggplant. I’m not a huge fan of Eggplant Parmesan, because as a general rule I try and stay away from breading and frying things. Usually, in place of the classic, I simply saute some slices, layer them in a pan with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil and then bake it. I’ve changed this up with tomato sauce instead of fresh and it’s equally delicious.

But, I really wanted to try something new this weekend and I’m calling it Eggplant Bianca, since there’s no tomato sauce involved; it’s just grilled eggplant baked with cheese and a simple white sauce. A layer of blanched arugula or spinach would be perfect in this. A layer of fresh tomatoes would also be wonderful (though no longer “bianca”) and I’m looking forward to playing with this more in the months to come.

lola-rugula-easy-eggplant-bianca-recipe

eggplant bianca recipe (eggplant with fresh mozzarella and parmesan)

  • 2 medium to large eggplants
  • Olive oil, for sauteing the eggplant and also greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (1 tablespoon for the bottom of pan, the rest for layering)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (generous) half and half
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for white sauce, 1/2 cup for topping)
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, broken or cut into small cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°

Using olive oil, lightly grease a 9 x 13 dish. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of panko and set aside.

Slice eggplant into thin rounds, about 1/2 inch each and sprinkle on one side with a bit of salt. Using a grill pan (or a grill), grill the slices with a bit of olive oil, turning occasionally, until mostly cooked through, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a bowl, whip together eggs, half and half, garlic, Parmesan. basil, parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper.

In prepared casserole dish, lay down a single layer of grilled eggplant slices. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the fresh mozzarella and 1/3 of the panko bread crumbs. Create 2 more layers, doing the same. Pour the egg mixture over everything in the dish and, using a spatula, gently press the eggplant/cheese layers together.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until edges and tops begin to bubble and brown.

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

easy-roasted-eggplant-recipe-lola-rugula

I already told you some other ideas for this, such as a layer of arugula, spinach or tomatoes. I think if you cut this into small squares, it would make a perfect appetizer. It could also be used as a side dish, if you prefer, instead if serving it as a main course, such as I did. And if you’re looking for what to serve a vegetarian guest at a party, I think this definitely fits the bill. Also, as a final note, you can certainly remove the eggplant skin, if you prefer it that way.

Bon Appetit!

10 thoughts on “eggplant bianca

  1. Do you have a specific variety of eggplants that you grow or what do you do to get them to grow well? I have grown eggplant a number of times and only get a few. I don’t do much watering, so maybe that is the problem.

    • This year I”m growing Black Beauty, which is a pretty popular variety of eggplant. I’ve grown a number of different kinds and they do like a lot of water, but it’s good to let the soil dry out in between watering.I also like to cage mine in a tomato-style cage – it helps support the plants weight as the eggplants start to grow. Finally, I do start my plants inside, by seed, in January or February, so it’s a nicely sized plant when I put it in the ground.

  2. I always like eggplant better when other people cook it. Besides grilling and pureeing it, I just don’t seem to have much luck making it taste good. However, this gives me hope! I love that it’s not fried but is still cheesy.

    • Thank you so much – I’m glad I gave you hope! 🙂 I like that it’s not fried too – fried eggplant just seems to kill any real benefit we should be getting from it, plus I just like the way it tastes better when it’s grilled. The fresh mozzarella ends up making this super cheesy but it’s still a light enough cheese to let the eggplant really shine. I’m looking forward to playing around with this recipe even more!

  3. I will be honest: for years I never ate an eggplant. I was convinced I did not like them. Thankfully I am all about experimenting and I discoverd the beauty of this gorgeous vegetable. I think my favourite is cooking it into a creamy one-pot meal with lentils. But this dish looks so decandently delicious I have to give it a try – I mean how can something covered in melted cheese not be a winner 🙂

  4. I love eggplant and recipes where the eggplant is not fried. I have fried it for years and the oil gets soaked up so quickly – now that I eat healthier I am always on the look-out for healthy ways to prep vegetables. Your eggplants are gorgeous!

    • Lesley at Lola Rugula says:

      We love eggplant almost to the point of excess – it’s a favorite in our house. Although I can’t say I dislike it fried, I do dislike the heavy grease and calories that come with it. I make an oven-fried version with panko that’s healthier and more calorie-conscious, but still prefer to grill it or roast it without any breading at all. This eggplant recipe was borne out of a desire to make something new with the abundance of eggplant we often have and it’s really yummy. 🙂

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