HEALTHY EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
2 medium size eggplants/aubergines
5 large "breakfast" mushrooms
10 leaves fresh basil
3 large handfuls baby spinach
1 cup milk
1 cup flour (I used brown rice, but plain or others will do)
1/2 tablespoon vinegar (white wine, sherry, or apple cider)
salt (for sprinkling over eggplant + 1/2 teaspoon for batter)
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 twists of black pepper
parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup tomato herb pasta sauce
Peel and slice the eggplants into 1 cm rounds. First, you'll need to salt them to draw out water and help them get soft and not so waxy feeling. Lay them out on a baking tray and generously sprinkle salt over. Leave them to sit for 30 minutes. You'll see the water droplets form on top of the slices.
1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 2 twists of black pepper. Add flour - start with 3/4 cup and add remaining 1/4 cup if needed for consistency. Set aside.
After 30 minutes, fill a large bowl with water and toss in the eggplant, dunking it to help rinse off the salt. Rinse again and pat them dry between 2 towels.
Dip each eggplant round into batter and lay on baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes, flip each round over and return to oven for another 8 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, steam spinach and cook mushrooms. I like to flatten my mushrooms to help them grill evenly and get a moist ribbon-like feel. This is the hi-tech / makeshift mushroom press I used:
Warm the pasta sauce in the microwave or in a saucepan. Chop basil roughly. Slice mushrooms.
Assemble: Lay the steamed spinach on a plate. Top with a few rounds of eggplant. Spoon some warm pasta sauce over. Add slices of mushrooms, grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil.
While this a light and healthy vegetarian dish - the eggplant and the mushrooms lend some heft to it as well, so you will feel satisfied and full. Give it a try!