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cook removing sheet tray of eggplant cutlets from ovenChef Paolo Vasapolli’s “lazy” version of eggplant parmigiana dispenses with the breading.

Grilling speeds prep time for eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant parmesan may not be an obvious warm-weather meal, breaded and baked for as much as an hour, but a variation by executive chef Paolo Vasapolli of Food and Catering Services is quicker and lighter — and gluten-free, too.

What his recipe saves in time by grilling the eggplant, it makes up in fresh flavours.

Lazy Eggplant Parmigiana

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, cut lengthwise into thin slices
  • 2 cups of passata (tomato purée)
  • 4 tbsp. of good olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 200g of pecorino cheese or mozzarella, plus grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Position an oven rack in the top third of your oven, then preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Preheat your grill or a grill pan over high heat. Lightly char the eggplant slices on both sides.
  3. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Heat the passata in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the oregano and let it cook for about 5 minutes. You just want to warm the passata and let the flavors come together.
  5. Spread the tomato sauce over the charred eggplant and top with slices of pecorino or mozzarella and grated parmigiano. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil if you want.
  6. Bake until the cheese melts and becomes slightly golden on top. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the eggplant with the basil.

Vasapolli recommends letting the dish sit after baking rather than eating it hot directly from the oven.

“I prefer to eat it a few hours after it has come out of the oven and has been resting at room temperature,” he says.

Find more recipes — as well as a place to submit your own — on the Healthy Eating website.