During spring break, I spent way too much money on food that also happened to be awful for me. The best meal I had though was with my best friend, Holly, in her single loft apartment in St. Augustine, Florida. Holly and I decided to cook dinner at least one night and she was craving Eggplant Parmesan.
I have to sincerely apologize to every student at Flagler, the college in that town. The grocery stores were lacking a lot in the way of fresh produce and quality in general. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Wegmans in Maryland, but it made it difficult to get all the ingredients together. To me, Target isn’t a grocery store. The store didn’t even have eggplant! We took a trip to Win Dixie, as well as Publix, then retreated back to cook dinner.
…and then I remembered I didn’t have bread crumbs. In Holly’s tiny kitchen, I already didn’t have a lot to work with. There was nothing that was going to stop me though; a hungry girl on a mission is an unstoppable force.
Did you know you can make homemade breadcrumbs? I had made them before. I used holly’s whole wheat bread. All you have to do is pulse the bread in a blender or food processor. Once I did that I added some Italian herbs and parmesan straight into my breadcrumbs.
I cut the eggplant and gave it to holly, who dipped each slice in egg and then the breadcrumbs. She had to move to another room because I had taken over the little kitchen space there was. I looked for a baking pan, only to find an alarming lack of any cookware besides pots and pans. “OH NO NO NO,” was all that was going through my head. How was I supposed to cook them? For those of you that have never made this dish before, it’s baked with cheese and tomato sauce in a sort of deep baking dish, which is so delicious.
Again, hungry megan = unstoppable force. I grabbed a pan and some olive oil. We were going to fry them! I guess it wasn’t necessarily eggplant parm, more like fried eggplant deliciousness.
Once we had fried all of the eggplant, I put some provolone on each and broiled them in the *surprise surprise* small oven on a sheet of aluminum foil. And meanwhile, while doing all of this we cooked angel hair pasta and set the bar table for dinner.
Everything was set out to eat FINALLY. Once we dished out the pasta and eggplant and sauce, I realized how worth it the entire process was. Even in the tiniest of kitchens, we were able to make a masterpiece, a work of culinary art.
If you’re interested, I’ll post the recipe to this dish. In the times I’ve made it again, I’ve found it honestly very easy to cook and decently healthy if you follow my method.