Cracking the case of missing eggplant dish

Harold E. Vermillion of Whitesburg, Ky., requested an eggplant parmesan recipe that he has lost. "It was in a magazine in the early 1980s," he said.

Darlene R. Goodman of Longview, Wash., also requested such a recipe, which she, too, had lost. "I believe it was in a Good Housekeeping magazine in the 1980s," she wrote.


Bill Pelter of Timonium responded. "Here's a recipe for eggplant parmesan that someone gave to me in the '80s which came from a magazine. I made it for a Christmas luncheon at work years ago, and I didn't tell anyone what it was until everyone had finished eating it.

"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."


Recipe requests

Edmund Schmelzer of Fulton is seeking a salmon-soup dish that his sister made from a recipe found on the label of a can of salmon. "I was 14 years old at the time and loved that recipe, but my sister didn't save it. This was in 1942 and I don't know what brand of salmon [the recipe] was on. Could someone help?"

Nelda I. Ring of Eldersburg is seeking a recipe for Greek crescent cookies. "They are a delicious shortbread cookie and make you want to eat more and more. I hope one of your readers can help," she wrote.

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number.

Eggplant Parmesan

Serves 6

1 medium eggplant

1 teaspoon salt


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

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

one 6-ounce can tomato paste


1/2 teaspoon dried whole oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried whole basil

1/2 teaspoon dried whole marjoram

1 teaspoon salt

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. Cut eggplant into 1/4 -inch slices. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt; let stand 1 hour. Pat moisture off with paper towels. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in very large saucepan; add onion and green pepper. Saute until onion is translucent.

Add ground beef, cooking over medium heat, stirring to crumble, until beef is browned. Drain. Add next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 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 skillet and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices, adding more butter as needed.

Layer 1/3 of meat sauce, 1/2 of eggplant, 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese in a lightly greased 13-inch-by-9-inch- 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.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "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.

"Use a regular globe eggplant with smooth, glossy, dark skin, [one that seems heavy for its size]. The older the eggplant, the more bitter the flesh. Salting the slices leaches out the bitterness. [You may also want to weight down the slices, covering them on both sides with paper toweling and topping them with a heavy cookie sheet. This brings out more moisture.]

"If the kids absolutely won't eat eggplant, you can make this exact recipe with thinly pounded chicken breasts instead."

Per serving: 604 calories; 35 grams protein; 39 grams fat; 19 grams saturated fat; 30 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 196 milligrams cholesterol; 1,792 milligrams sodium