Eggplant Parmesan (Freezer Cooking)

One of the best ways to save money (and have better food) is to preserve fresh vegetables when they are in season.  I love to have eggplant already breaded and frozen for a fast, easy meal in the winter.  If you don't have a garden giving you lots of lovely, purple eggplants you can pick some up for cheap while they are in season at a local farmer's market.  Out of two very large eggplants, I got enough for four meals! 

Start out with a fresh eggplant, peel it, and chop the very ends off (that is the most bitter part).
Then slice it about 3/8" thick- yes, I know that seems awfully precise, but 1/2" is too thick and 1/4" is too thin.

Sprinkle both sides with a little salt- the seeds will turn brown very quickly- this is normal and you do not have a rotten or mutant eggplant.

Pour a little oil in a frying pan- just enough to evenly coat the bottom of the pan- and turn it on med-low heat.
Get everything else ready while the oil is heating.  You will need a bowl for eggs- I beat two of them thoroughly- and a bowl for bread crumbs.

Coat the slices evenly by dipping first in the eggs (that picture was blurry and I figure that you are smart enough to figure that out) and then in bread crumbs.

 Fry in oil until golden brown, flipping them to cook each side, of course.  The oil will get all yucky and bubbly after a few batches, so you might need to add/change oil partway through cooking.

Place the cooked slices on a paper towel covered plate to absorb the grease.

When they cool off, you can lay the fried eggplant slices flat in a freezer bag and save them for later.  When I cook them, I place the frozen eggplant in a baking dish that has a little tomato sauce spread on the bottom and spread a little more on top of the eggplant.  I bake it at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until it is thoroughly cooked and soft (if you don't cook it long enough it will be bitter).  I sprinkle mozzarella on top for about the last 10 minutes and serve it with spaghetti.

Here is how I prepared it fresh, though!  I took a tomato from our garden and put thick slices on top of the eggplant, topped with a little oregano (I just used sauce on half of them for those of us who are a little bit picky).

I baked it for a half hour and then added mozzarella.

  Here was the final result...

Doesn't it look pretty?

I know a lot of people that say they have never eaten eggplant- to be honest I was intimidated by it at first, too.  If you are brave enough to give this a try, let me know how it turns out!