Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Very Veggie Pesach: Eggplant Parmesan

I've said for many years in my Pesach (Passover) Cooking Tips that matzah meal is an effective substitute for bread crumbs as a breading for things like eggplant parmesan.  Here is a very simple recipe for eggplant parmesan that uses only ingredients that are usually available for Passover.

The primary recipe is not vegan (includes cheese), gebrochts and not gluten-free (uses matzah meal), but I have some substitution suggestions that might work to make it vegan or gluten-free.

Ingredients:
  1. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  2. 1/2 cup matzah meal
  3. 1 eggplant cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch slices (peel first, if your level of strictness requires it)
  4. 1/2 cup melted butter, kosher-for-Passover margarine or extra virgin olive oil
  5. Pizza sauce, pasta sauce or tomato sauce
  6. 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  7. handful of chopped fresh parsley
  8. matzah farfel (optional)
Kashrut Notes:
  1. Miller's Cheese sells shredded mozzarella in 8 oz (half pound; 1 pint) bags, which is kosher for Passover. Miller's parmesan is also kosher for Passover.
  2. Make sure your matzah meal and matzah farfel is kosher for Passover. Believe it or not, sometimes matzah products are made for year round use and are not kosher for Passover!
  3. Eggplant and fresh parsley are fresh produce. Star K's website says that fresh supermarket produce is not a Passover problem.  Note that dried, bottled parsley would require kosher for Passover certifcation, but fresh is better anyway!
  4. Some major national brands of butter routinely produce a kosher-for-Passover run of butter. Look for the words "Kosher for Passover" written on the package.  OU's website currently states that all extra virgin olive oils are kosher for Passover without any certification.  Kosher-for-Passover margarine is harder to find, because the primary sources of oil for margarine are not kosher-for-Passover, but well-stocked Passover aisles will have Passover margarine.
  5. Tomato sauce requires Passover certification.  Gefen makes some very good kosher-for-Passover pizza and pasta sauces, if you can find them.  If not, Manischewitz or Rokeach tomato sauces in a can are fine and more widely available.
Substitution Suggestions:
  1. To make this vegan, you can, of course, skip the cheeses in this recipe, but then you have no significant protein source. Skip the mozzarella and try substituting 1/4 cup ground nuts, usually available in a well-stocked Passover aisle, in place of the parmesan to get a nutty coating with plenty of protein. You could also serve it with a side of quinoa to make up for the missing protein.
  2. To make this gluten-free and non-gebrochts, try a non-gebrochts coating mix. I've seen one from Lieber's once before. Once. It's made with seasoned potato starch and potato flakes. It's hard to find, even in a well-stocked Passover aisle, but if you need gluten-free or non-gebrochts, it may be worth looking for.  You might also try substituting the ground nuts for matzah meal, although I've never tried this.  If you do try it, let us know in the comments how that goes!
Preparation:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    2. Combine parmesan with matzah meal in a large bowl.
    3. Put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a large baking pan
    4. Dip eggplant slices one at a time into butter/margarine/oil, then into the coating mixture, then put in the baking pan
    5. When all of the eggplant are in the pan, spread a layer of sauce over all, then sprinkle a layer of mozzzarella, then a layer of parsley
    6. If your baking pan is not big enough to fit all of the eggplant on the bottom, you can make double-decker eggplant parmesan: eggplant, sauce, cheese, eggplant, sauce, cheese
    7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese on top begins to brown
    8. Serve over matzah farfel, if desired

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