Grilled Eggplant Pesto Parmigiana

Sometimes I realize that the recipe featured here require a mixer, or an immersion blender, and for as much as I try to simplify recipes by using simple tools, it can become intimidating if your kitchen equipment is pieced together with hand-me-downs and college left overs.

This recipe requires not much more than George Foreman grill, the staple of every college “registry”, and it looks and tastes a bit more sophisticated than college.

Grilled Eggplant Pesto Parmigiana
1 large Italian eggplant
Pesto Sauce (either premade, or homemade – do it!  It is soo easy)
Grated Parmigiana cheese
Marinara sauce
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  On a cutting board slice the eggplant into 1/2″ coins.  Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt.  Salting the eggplant adds flavor and it also helps the eggplant to “sweat” out some of it’s moisture.

In a small bowl prepare the pesto sauce, come on, I know you went homemade.  Another even lower calorie option that is strong on flavor is crushed basil, garlic and olive oil – I recommend the frozen basil and garlic cubes at Trader Joe’s.
Lay the eggplant coins out on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown grill marks appear and then rotate for a beautiful cross pattern.   
Lay all of the grilled eggplant slices on a cookie sheet and spread each slice with a 1/2 teaspoon of your spread.  (If you’re  not into pesto, or garlic, or basil, or whatever, a tapenade would be amazing, or just your basic marinara sauce).  Sprinkle with the grated parmigiana cheese and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the cheese is a little bit melted.
If you can help it, arrange the grilled eggplant slices on a plate and serve with fresh sauce.  If you can’t help it, try not to burn your fingers as you eat them right from the pan.  We ate them both ways in my house, and they taste just as good with or without the fancy presentation!

This makes for a healthy, affordable, and really satisfying dinner or appetizer for a crowd.  Buon Appetito!

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