Eggplant-it's one of those vegetables that looks so beautiful with its glossy coat and stout form, but is so intimidating to so many market shoppers. What to do with it once you get it home? One of my favorite recipes comes from my mother- in- law who substituted 1/2 inch think length wise slices of eggplant for lasagna noodles. Perhaps she originally tried this noodle free dish to benefit a member of our family with a gluten allergy, but the end result is delicious enough to convince even the most eggplant shy that this late summer gem is one valuable vegetable.
(Note: I goofed here and cut the slices width wise..still works fine)
Like just about any eggplant dish your very first step is to prepare the eggplant. Cut off the top. Peel the skin. Cut the eggplant long ways in to about 1/2 inch slices, cutting across the full width of the eggplant. Lay the eggplant out on a large platter or a couple of plates in a single layer. Liberally salt the eggplant slices and allow them to sit in their salted state for about 1 hour. This water removing process is key! After that, quickly rinse each slice and lay them out on a flour sack towel to pat dry.
Pre-heat oven to 350
For 4-6 servings will need:
1 large eggplant (I have never used the long slender oriental eggplants for this dish, but imagine they would work perfectly. I am guessing you would need 2 large of this long straight form.)
about 9 ounces ricotta cheese
1 standard size ball of fresh mozzarella sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2-1/4 cup fresh, finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper (remember your eggplant will likely still be rather salty from the above process so you may want to leave out the salt until you've tasted the fully completed dish)
For the Sauce: