08 Jan Cheesy Eggplant Boats
4 fresh eggplants
1 jar “quality” marinara sauce of choice (approx. 1 cup)
½ cup “shredded” Mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
¼ cup “grated” Parmesan cheese
¼ cup “Italian Style” Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh “chopped” basil for garnish
|Preheat oven to 375°F|
Place the whole eggplants on a baking sheet lined with foil, and cook for 25 minutes or until they begin to soften. Remove them from the oven and slice each eggplant lengthwise, but do not cut them in half. The goal is to gently fold each eggplant open to be a boat with its insides seasoned.
Before returning the eggplants to the oven, sprinkle the insides with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and olive oil to taste. They should cook (open side up) for 20 minutes or until soft/tender.
As the eggplants cook, stir together the Parmesan and Panko in a bowl and lightly season (to taste) with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Now, top each eggplant with marinara sauce before equally sharing the Panko mixture with each eggplant-boat.
Top each boat with Mozzarella and place the eggplants under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese bubbles and turns slightly golden.
These eggplants are best served hot with basil as a garnish.