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Grilled Eggplant Parmesean

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Contributed by Chef Akasha

If you have a farmers market in your city, you can usually find great organic eggplant when they are in season. I prefer the light purple Asian varieties because they seem to have fewer seeds, which makes them less bitter. My favorite local farmers market is the Hollywood Farmers Market, which usually has a good selection of eggplant to choose from, sometimes even white ones. When organic eggplant is not available, you can make this dish with a combination of zuchinni and roasted peppers.

Note: The eggplant can be cooked on an outdoor grill, grill pan or an indoor electric grilling machine.
Serves 4-6
Olive oil cooking spray
Olive oil
Kosher salt
6 large or 12 small Japanese eggplant
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 medium sized Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Spray a ceramic or glass casserole dish with cooking spray.

3. Cut the stem off of each eggplant and a small slice off of the other end. Cut the eggplants in half crosswise.  Slice each half lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Layer eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling with a little kosher salt on each layer. Let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse off salt and pat dry.

4. Spray a grill pan or an electric grilling machine with cooking spray and brush the eggplant slices on each side with a little olive oil.  Grill eggplant until very tender, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Drain eggplant slices on paper towels or on paper bags.

5. In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs, garlic, and the parmesan.  Layer in the casserole dish in the following order: eggplant slices, breadcrumb mixture, tomato slices, bread crumb mixture, basil, and repeat until all ingredients are used up, ending with the breadcrumb mixture on top of the tomatoes.

6. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the casserole is well browned.