Sunday, July 21, 2013

Roasted Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant parmigiana is a southern Italian dish made of sliced eggplant, deep-fried then layered with cheese and tomato sauce and baked. I can not bring myself to deep-fry anything (even in olive oil!) so in this healthier version, I skip the batter and frying and simply roast the eggplant.
For the layering, feel free to make your own tomato sauce or use jarred marinara. As for the cheese, I use a combination of ricotta, shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano (the real thing, not the so-called “parmesan” from a green can!). The traditional sliced mozzarella is a little too chewy for my taste, but the ricotta makes the whole dish super smooth and creamy. You're welcome!

Serves 6
  • 3 small or 2 medium eggplants, cut into ¼-inch slices = 3 petites aubergines, ou 2 moyennes, coupées en rondelles de ½ cm
  • about ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil = environ 60 ml d'huile d'olive + 1 cuillère à soupe
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced = 3 gousses d'ail, émincées
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes = 800 g de purée de tomates
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar = 1 cuillère à soupe de sucre roux
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil = 2 cuillères à soupe de basilic frais ciselé
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese = 425 g de ricotta
  • a pinch of nutmeg, freshly grated = une pincée de noix de muscade
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese = 225 g de mozarella râpée
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano = 100 g de parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano) râpé
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano = 2 cuillères à soupe de parmesan très finement râpé
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs = 2 cuillères à soupe de chapelure (Panko)
  • salt & pepper to taste = sel et poivre

Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with olive oil. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Brush or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Flip the slices over and repeat, so that both sides are oiled and salted. Roast until golden brown, about 40 minutes, flipping the eggplant halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool while you prepare the remainder of the ingredients. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F/190°C.

In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, do not let it burn! Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Add the sugar. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

In a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, 1 cup of shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, and a pinch of black pepper and ground nutmeg.

To assemble the dish: spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, followed by half of the roasted eggplant, another 1/3 of the tomato sauce, half of the ricotta mixture and half of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, slices 1/3 of the sauce, ricotta mixture and mozzarella. Mix panko and finely grated parmesan, sprinkle evenly on top.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes, until top is golden brown and filling is bubbly. You can also put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lentil Salad in Pita Pocket

In the summer, our mornings are spent at the pool for swim practice so there isn't a lot of time to plan or make lunch. I steam some green Puy lentils the night before and this pita sandwich comes together in a few minutes. I use whatever I have in the fridge or pantry: tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper (fresh or roasted), shredded carrots, marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives, chopped baby spinach or arugula. I love lots of colors! It's always delicious and filling!

Serves 2
  • 2 whole wheat pita pockets (I use Trader Joe's Pocketful of Fiber Pita Bread), each cut in half = 2 pains pita, coupés en deux
  • ¾ to 1 cup cooked lentils, at room temperature = 150 à 200 g de lentilles cuites, à température ambiante
  • 1 tomato, chopped = 1 tomate, coupée en morceaux
  • 1 mini cucumber, chopped = 1 mini-concombre, coupé en morceaux
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped = 1 petit poivron jaune, coupé en morceaux
  • 8 mini mozzarella balls, chopped= 8 mini-balles de mozzarella, coupées en morceaux
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil = 1 cuillère à café d'huile d'olive
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar = 1 cuillère à soupe de vinaigre balsamique
  • salt & pepper = sel & poivre

Mix the lentils, chopped veggies and mozzarella in a medium bowl, add oil, vinegar and seasonings and toss gently.

Stuff each pocket half with lentil salad and serve right away. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Caprese Pasta Salad

Simple. Fresh. Healthy. A great summer salad to share with friends and family!

I prefer using mini shaped pasta, as well as grape tomatoes and ciliegine: everything is small so you get all the delicious caprese flavors in every bite.

Serves 6-8

For the pasta:
  • ½ lb mini wheels pasta = 225 g de mini-pates (style Piccolini de Barilla
  • 1 lb. grape tomatoes, halved = 450 g de tomates cerise, coupées en deux
  • 8 oz. ciliegine (mini-mozarella balls), halved = 225 g de ciliegine (petites boules de mozarella fraiche), coupées en deux
  • 10-15 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced = 10 à 15 feuilles de basilique fraiches, ciselées

For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup lemon juice = 60 ml de jus de citron
  • ¼ cup olive oil = 60 ml d'huile d'olive
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste = sel et poivre fraichement moulu

Cook pasta “al dente”, drain, put in serving bowl and cool for 10 minutes. Add remaining salad ingredients.

Blend the lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and toss gently.

Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!