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Recipe Finder | Eggplant Parmesan

Omer Mir of Baltimore was looking for a recipe for eggplant Parmesan that was published some years ago in The Baltimore Sun. He thought it was a particularly good recipe and was hoping we might be able to track it down for him.

After a search of The Sun's archives, I located a recipe that appeared in the Recipe Finder column, then written by Ellen Hawks, in June 2004 that hopefully is the one Mir is in search of. At the time, two readers were looking for an eggplant Parmesan recipe they had seen in a magazine. Bill Pelter of Timonium shared a recipe that he said someone gave him in the '80s, which came from a magazine. Pelter said he made the dish for a Christmas luncheon at work and didn't tell anyone what it was until everyone had finished eating it.

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"People were astonished that it was eggplant because some said they didn't even like eggplant. One individual liked it so much that she asked me if I would make it for a wedding reception," Pelter said.

Laura Riley, the recipe tester at the time, said, "This is the kind of eggplant Parmesan that can make anyone an eggplant lover. The breading, the cheese and the meaty sauce show off the vegetable to best effect." I agree with both Pelter and Riley completely.

Requests

Jack Ziegler of Baltimore is looking for a recipe from the long-closed Carmen's restaurant that was located on 25th Street near St. Paul Street. The restaurant closed sometime in the 1960s, but at the time, John Dorsey, The Sun's restaurant critic, rated Carmen's one of the best restaurants in Maryland. Ziegler and his wife were particularly found of the shad and shad roe as well as the restaurant's continental salad. The salad had a Greek-style dressing that he has never been able to duplicate. Ziegler was wondering if anyone remembers Carmen's and perhaps could give him some idea of how to make the salad.

Eggplant Parmesan

Makes 6 servings

1 medium eggplant

2 teaspoons salt (divided use)

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup butter or margarine (divided use)

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 cup chopped green pepper

1 pound ground beef

1 28-ounce can tomatoes, undrained and coarsely chopped (diced works well, too)

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

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1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried whole basil

1/2 teaspoon dried whole marjoram

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 eggs, beaten with 4 tablespoons milk

3/4 cup dry bread crumbs

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Green pepper rings and fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish

Peel eggplant, if desired, and cut eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand for 1 hour. Pat moisture off with paper towels. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a very large saucepan; add onion and green pepper. Saute until the onion is translucent.

Add the ground beef, cooking over medium heat and stirring to crumble, until beef is browned. Drain. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, marjoram, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dip eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, coating well. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a heavy skillet. Arrange a single layer of eggplant in the skillet and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, adding more butter as needed.

Layer a third of the meat sauce, half of the eggplant, 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a lightly greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Repeat layers. Add remaining meat sauce and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with green pepper rings and parsley.

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