Not always at the forefront of our minds (or shopping trolleys), eggplant is nonetheless a versatile autumn vegetable packed with do-good nutrients: a potent antioxidant called nasunin found in eggplant’s glossy purple skin has been shown to protect brain cell membranes from free radical damage, while a phenolic compound in the vegetable’s flesh has anti-cancer and antiviral properties while also fighting bad cholesterol.
In season now, it tastes fabulous roasted and then mashed with garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil as a quick baba ghanoush: the perfect school lunchbox addition packed in to the Realseal storage system alongside vegetable dipping sticks. Or try this eggplant parmigiana for a healthy take on the meaty pub classic.
Eggplant Parmigiana – serves 4
3.0L Thermoglass dish with Realseal lid
3/4 cup plain flour
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
2 eggplant, trimmed, thinly sliced (see note)
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 1/2 cups Italian tomato pasta sauce
1/4 cup grated tasty cheese
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
Bechamel sauce – melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly. Return pan to medium heat. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 8 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil. Remove from heat. Add cheese. Stir until melted. Cover surface with plastic wrap.
Eggplant parmigana – combine flour and salt and pepper on a large plate. Lightly whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons cold water in a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Lightly coat each slice of eggplant in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg mixture, then breadcrumbs, pressing crumbs on with your fingertips to secure. Pour oil into a large saucepan until one-third full. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Cook eggplant, in batches, for 2 minutes each side or until golden. Transfer to a baking tray. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease your 3.0L Thermoglass dish. Line base with eggplant slices, overlapping slightly. Spoon over 1/2 cup pasta sauce. Repeat eggplant and pasta sauce layers 2 more times. Top with béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden. Stand for 5 minutes. Simply cover the Thermoglass dish with the Realseal lid once you have finished to keep parmigana fresh ready for quick reheating.