Thursday, August 17, 2006

Catching up on new recipes: Eggplant Parmesan, Salmon and Caesar Salad

I was feeling ambitious on Tuesday night,and tried 3 new recipes!

Eggplant parmesan is another recipe from The Best Light Recipe, which is supposed to be lighter than the regular stuff. Eventhough it's a lighter recipe, I think it tastes equally good, if not better.This is definitely another way to use up my extra eggplants other than the sambal style I used to cook. OCT being the conservative eater likes the dish too. And he ended up eating most of it.

Lime and honey glazed salmon is a recipe from Rachel Ray's 365 recipes no repeat. Quite a healthy and tasty way to cook salmon. We like its sweet and tangy taste.

Last but not least, the Caesar Salad, recipe from Ina Garten! I know it's an easy recipe, or you can actually buy a bottle of the vinaigrette, but the freshly made one taste very refreshing! Thanks to the freshly squeeze lemon juice.

It was a very satisfying meal. And for once, I was glad that OCT was home late. I didn't read the recipe carefully, and hence didn't realise that the eggplant parmesan was quite a time consuming dish. By the time he was back at 9:00p.m, it was the perfect time.I pulled out the piping old eggplant parmesan and icy cold salad for a great night meal.

Eggplant Parmesan
(adapted from The Best Light Recipe)
Serves 6

2 medium globe eggplants (1 pound each), ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/3inch thick rounds
kosher salt
1.5 cup panko
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ounce parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/2 cup, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1.5 tsp garlic powder
ground black pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp water
vegetable oil spray
5 cups tomato sauce
8 ounces reduced fat mozarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
2 tbsps minced fresh basil leaves

1. Toss half of the eggplants with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then place in a large colander set over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining eggplant and 1 more teaspoon kosher salt, and transfer to the colander with the first batch. Let sit until the eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 40 minutes. spread the eggplant slices on a triple thickness of paper towels and cover with another triple thickness of paper towels. Press firmly on each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, and wipe off the excess salt.

2. Adjust the oven racks to the lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat the oven to 475F. Combine the bread crumbs and oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs into a shallow dish and let cool slightly; when cool, stir in the 1/2 cup parmesan. Combine the flour, garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together into a second shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk the eggwhites and water together.

3.Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil and coat with vegetable oil spray. Season the eggplant with pepper. Lightly dredge one side of each eggplant slice in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the floured side of the eggplant into the egg whites, and then coat the same side with the bread crumbs. Press on the crumbs to make sure they adhere. lay the eggplant, breaded side up, on the baking sheets in a single layer.

4. Lightly spray the top of the eggplant slices with vegetable oil spray. Bake until the top of the eggplant slices are crisp and golden, about 30 minutes, rotating and switching the baking sheets halfway through baking.

5. Spread one cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish. Layer in half of the eggplant slices, breaded side up, overlapping the slices to fit. Distribute 1/2 cup of the sauce over the eggplants; sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Later in the remaining eggplant, breaded side up and dot with one cup of the sauce, leaving the majority of the eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella. Bake until bubbling and the cheese is browned, about 10 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the basil and serve, passing the remaining sauce and extra parmesan separately.

The original recipe called for homemade tomato sauce, but I used the store bought sauce. It tasted fine to me. And I halved the recipe, as usual.

Caesar Salad
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!)
serves 6-8

3/4 pound pancetta, sliced 1/2-inch thick (omitted)
2 pints cherry tomatoes
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large heads Romaine lettuce
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the dressing:
1 extra large egg york at room temperature (or 2 tablespoons mayonaise)
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
8 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mild olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400F

Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch cubes and cook it in a skillet over medium low heat for 10-15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towel and drain.

Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Sprinke with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until soft. Wash the lettuce leaves carefully and spin dry in a salad spinner. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices. Place them in a large mixing bowl.

For the dressing, place the egg yolk (or mayo), mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into a bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until thick. Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.

Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to moisten well. Add 1 cup grated parmesan and toss. Divde the lettuce among 6 to 8 plates and sprinkle with pancetta and roasted tomatoes.

Note: I halved the recipe. Even when the dressing was halved, it was sufficient to make 3 night's salad.

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