It was a dark and stormy night, well, actually, a foggy afternoon, and I was desperately trying to think of something to make for dinner for my employed wife when she got home (I'm one of those people who got chopped up by the unemployment fad that seems to be gaining momentum; being over 50 and having a long history of working in one environment tends to trend against you, but that's not the issue here). Anyway, I went out into the garden and grabbed a couple of eggplants figuring I could do something with these so I could avoid having to endure Safeway. Grabbed the eggplants and checked the fridge and pantry. Excellent. Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, basel leaves (from the garden), a few other things. OK, let's do up a quick eggplant parmiagana. This took like 15 minutes to throw together and it became one of our faves. There's nothing new or exciting about this; it's just basic, easy, and good. Give it a shot (sorry, no photo).
Your Basic Eggplant Parmiagana
Peel and slice two eggplants about 1/4-1/2" thick. Put them in a colander and slather them with a good handful of salt. Lay a plate, a brick, a hardcover book, or any combination thereof on top of them to leach the bitterness out of them. After about an hour, give them a good rinse, dry them in paper towels. Lay them out on a sheet pan, throw a little salt and pepper on them, drizzle with olive oil, then either place them in the oven (375), or (as I did) throw them on the big-ass gas grill, until they get soft, or have nice grill marks on both sides.
In the meantime, chop up a small onion, smash a couple cloves garlic, and throw them into a hot pan with some olive oil. Stir them around and let them get fragrant. Throw in a big can of (preferably) smoked tomatoes, a couple TBS of tomato paste, and about 1/2 cup red wine. Throw in some S&P, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, thyme, or whatever, and let it simmer for a little while.
Take a lasagna-type pan, spray a little no-stick spray, and lay out a layer of eggplant. Ladle some sauce over the eggplant. Throw a little grated mozzarella and parmesan over that, and then layer with fresh basel leaves. Repeat a couple times, finishing with a layer of cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 350-375 for about 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Let sit about 15 minutes and dig in.
Trust me, this is idiot proof, and the creamy succulence of the eggplant will remind your significant other of why you're significant.