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Eggpatty parmesan

By Penny Stine

I really try to eat whatever I grow in my garden. Well, OK, I've noticed that I seem to be growing lots of garden snakes this year. I don't eat them. But I have been able to quit buying most produce in the grocery store in the last two months. I still buy peaches from local producers and until a few weeks ago, my peppers weren't doing much, but my garden has kept me in enough onions, garlic, squash, tomatoes, kale, spinach, beans, peas, Swiss chard, beets and cucumbers that I haven't had to shop for produce.

So when I saw this lovely eggplant, I decided to make eggplant parmesan. Yes, these eggplant are tiny. I had two more tiny ones in the fridge.


Since they were so small, I thought I'd better make the meal as filling as possible, so I decided to dredge the eggplant in beaten egg and a mixture of bacon, stale hot dog bun (hey, it was the only stale bread in my cupboard!), Cheese Nips and Ritz crackers. Trust me, after I'd crumbed up the combination to a fine mixture with my food processor, it was a great bread crumb substitute. And no, I did not pick the bacon, hot dog bun or crackers from my garden.




I cut up all the tiny eggplant and realized it wasn't going to be enough. So I got out a pattypan squash and sliced it, too.






Meanwhile, I turned these tomatoes and this basil (along with some onions, garlic and olive oil) into sauce.






I dredged the slices of eggplant and pattypan in the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Actually, I did that with the squash, by the time I finished, I was tired of doing it and getting hungrier by the second. So I threw all the eggplant slices in the bowl with the egg, tried to cover them as much as possible, then put the remaining bread crumbs into a plastic bag, threw in the eggplant and shook it until every piece of eggplant had something stuck to it.

(It's shake and bake, and I helped!) Yes, if you remember that annoying commercial, you're old, too!
There were some bread crumbs left in the bag, so I shook them out into the tomato sauce. Fresh tomatoes can produce very watery sauce, so I figured fine bread crumbs would solve that issue. Plus, the bacony goodness did not disappoint - it was a very nice, subtle addition to the sauce.

Next I put some sauce in the casserole dish, layered the coated pattypan first, then more sauce, some mozzarella and parmesan, then the eggplant and finally covered it with a layer of sauce, and both cheeses once again. I baked it for a bit, maybe 20 minutes or more.
I didn't take a photo of the prepared dish because my husband came home somewhere toward the end of my preparation, we drank a glass of wine on the back deck while it was baking and I forgot.
The eggplant portion was merely OK, since I didn't peel the eggplant (because it was just so dang small to begin with). The pattypan portion of the dish was awesome and worth repeating. 


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