As usual, I surveyed my overflowing counter of vegetables and decided that something had to be made using the eggplants. I checked for additional sources of inspiration and noticed that I had some mushrooms, onion, and spinach that could use some love. And so Eggplant Mushroom Parm was born.
2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise or across (or both) lightly salted, set aside
1 pint of thickly sliced mushrooms – any type
1 large bunch of fresh spinach or 1 package frozen creamed spinach, thawed
1 small onion, chopped
4 cups shredded or sliced cheese (I used muenster but mozzarella would be an obvious good choice)
2 cups (or so) spaghetti sauce (well seasoned)
Flour for lightly dredging eggplant (you could also use gluten free pancake or baking mix)
Olive oil for sauteing eggplant and mushrooms
1. Using olive oil, saute mushrooms and onions until they are well cooked. Add the spinach. Mix together and cook until spinach is wilted and combined well with the onions and mushrooms. Set aside.
2. I like to lightly salt my eggplant and let it sit while I prepare the other ingredients. Some people say that salting and sweating helps to eliminate any bitter taste from the eggplant. I keep the skin on the eggplants – never a problem in my dishes. After you have let the eggplant “sweat” a little, pat the eggplant dry, dredge in a little bit of flour or baking mix and then lightly fry in olive oil for a few minutes each side. Try not to eat all the eggplant before you put it in your 9 x 12 baking pan.
3. Spray the baking pan with a little cooking spray and spread some sauce evenly on the bottom of the pan. Layer eggplant slices over the tomato sauce. Spoon about half of the spinach, mushroom, onion mixture over the eggplant. Layer with half the cheese – sliced or shredded. Repeat the layers: sauce, eggplant, mushrooms and spinach, a little more sauce, and then top it off with cheese.
Cook at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. We served this delicious dish with a little bit of pasta and a side salad of arugula and cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!!