Roasting thick eggplant planks drizzled with plenty of oil gives them a silky texture and lends structure to this comforting, cheesy bake. We use them instead of noodles, so this dish is also gluten free. Assemble it the day before and bake it when you are ready to eat it.
I used a Large Y-Peeler to peel wide slices of skin from these large eggplants. Along the way I discovered several other great uses for this super sharp, extra wide peeler:
- Peel large veg, obviously. This tool is designed to handle jumbo vegetables like winter squash, papayas and eggplants.
- Shaved root salad is affordable and wonderfully crunchy and pretty. This peeler makes paper-thin slices with ease. Just watch your fingers like you would when using a mandoline.
- This is the right tool when you want to shave a little bit of cabbage to make just enough slaw for a sandwich or a taco.
- This tool can cut slices of onion paper thin so they do not overpower a salad or a burger.
- Make three or four pretty cucumber cross sections and slide them into a glass of ice water for a cucumber refresher.
- Slice zucchini into long ribbons and drizzle the raw slices with good olive oil, a little bit of vinegar and some salt for a very easy summer side.
- Slice a few lemon slices and roast fish or shrimp on a bed of them.
But a good place to start with the Large Y-Peeler is with this Eggplant Lasagna-Parmesan:
Recipe courtesy Heather Ramsdell: Makes 8 to 12 servings
3 large eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise in 3/8-inch thick slices
¾ cup olive oil
¾ cup olive oil 1 large yellow onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
16 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
16 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Salt both sides of the eggplant slices with a tablespoon and a half Kosher salt and lay them on a clean kitchen towel for about 20 minutes to let them soften and release some liquid.
- While the eggplant drains, make marinara sauce. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and season with 1 teaspoon of salt and some grinds of black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden brown about 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Lower the heat to medium, and add the crushed tomatoes and half of the basil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Keep warm.
- Pat the eggplant slices dry with the towel. Coat two sheet pans with about a third of the remaining olive oil. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer (a few overlaps are fine) on the sheet pans and drizzle evenly with the rest of the olive oil. Roast until they soften and turn dark in areas, flipping halfway through, about 35 minutes. Taste the eggplant and season it to taste with salt. Lower the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stir together the ricotta, egg and Parmesan.
- To build the lasagna, spoon a ¼ cup of the sauce into a 13 x 15-inch pan, cover the bottom with a layer of the eggplant, top with ¾ cup of the sauce. Dollop one third of the ricotta mixture over the sauce with a spoon. Sprinkle on half of the remaining basil. Add one-third of the mozzarella. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make two more identical layers, ending with the last of the mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the eggplant is soft, the sauce is bubbling, the center is hot and the cheese is browned in spots, 25 to 30 more minutes. Cool at least 20 minutes before slicing into squares and serve with remaining marinara sauce on the side.