BUT I PROMISED A RECIPE OF DELICIOUSNESS, and I will not disappoint. Unless you hate things that are great tasting, in which case you're hosed. I've made this multiple times now, and feel like I've got it down solid.
3 good sized eggplants, washed, top cut off, sliced relatively thin (1/4 inch, cut from top to bottom)
flour for dredging (all purpose)
salt for making the eggplant weep (feel free to tell it sad stories of woe if you have sodium issues but understand that eggplant has Seen Things)
your best olive oil
your best self (smile)
2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes (I prefer Glen Muir fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, personally)
several cloves of garlic (I like about 5)
several fresh basil leaves (to taste - I use a handful) rolled like a cigar and sliced on the diagonal (aka chiffonade)
mozzarella, sliced (enough to cover the top of your preferred casserole dish, about 5 oz?)
1 C grated Parmesans cheese (use good stuff) or more, if you'd prefer
a glass of wine - this is for you, because you're worth it
Get a big colander and layer the eggplant slices in this. Every slice gets salted with a good pinch of salt. You need to draw the moisture out of the slices so you don't have a mushy mess. Once all the eggplant is in the colander, put something heavy on it to press out the moisture. Plan for a half hour for the eggplant to be pressed. Or don't plan, I'm not going to tell you how to life your life. I mean, I will, but you can live it how you're going to live it. I might need another glass of wine.
While the eggplant cries quietly in your sink, get a heavy-bottomed saucepan going on medium-low heat, coat the bottom, smash your garlic cloves with the side of your knife - or your fist, it might make you feel better - and sizzle for a few seconds. Don't burn your garlic. This I will boss you about. Burned garlic is the breath of the devil. Add in your tomatoes (if you've used whole peeled, let it simmer for 10 minutes before taking your potato masher to crush them up), ad a pinch or two of salt, a crank of pepper, and let it simmer for several minutes. (I like to add a pinch of red pepper flakes, but YMMV). Once it looks like it's thickening and reducing, add the basil, stir, and put on the lowest setting to stay warm. You don't want it bubbling away to nothing or burning. Burned tomato sauce is not unlike the tears of murdered angels.
Take the eggplant slices, tell them to pull themselves together, and press between paper towels to get the last water droplets out. Stack on a plate. Get a big baking sheet/jelly roll pan (I end up needing two) and drizzle a healthy amount of olive oil on it. Crank the oven to 450F. Dredge the slices of eggplant in flour and place on your baking sheet. Bake for about 5 - 10 minutes, flip over and bake the other side. This crisps up the eggplant and adds a great dimension to the overall dish. This is really what sets the dish apart, so if you skip this, you may as well skip everything. *flips table*
NOTE: I've used panko instead of flour before and it ends up baking all mushy. Stick with flour. No seasoning is necessary to add to your flour. Learn from my mistakes.
Once you have all the eggplant slices crisped up, smile at those glorious brown crispy beauties and lower the oven temp to 400F. Put a ladle of sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish, spread around (this won't cover the whole base). Layer the eggplant, sprinkle Parmesan over the slices, and add another ladle of sauce, more eggplant, Parmesan, etc until you get to the top layer. Top with your mozzarella slices and Parmesan. If you have leftover sauce, throw it all out because you failed. NO! Save that and make a fancy sammich with mozzarella, basil and garlic! And then do better next time, COME ON. *flips table*
Bake for 20 minutes, check for brown and bubbling cheese. Need longer? Take longer. Otherwise, pull it out and let it sit for about 5 - 10 minutes, then slice and serve. It's like a lasagne of delicious veggies and sauce with enough cheese to be satisfying (but not leave you feeling guilty). This reheats beautifully, too. Thick and hearty, but surprisingly low calorie, high in protein, etc.
(For those who care about such things, here's the nutritional breakdown. The dish as I've listed makes 10 servings (you'll want two) so ONE serving:
9 g fat
528 mg sodium
30.6 g Carb.
8.3 g fiber
13.2 g protein
And now I'm going to curl up in a ball and sleep. Mmm, naps. (BTW, there are more amazing recaps up at HDJM! Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, The Bridge and Buffy S1e3! Thank you for sharing links, commenting, liking, etc. We appreciate it!)