Mario Batali's Eggplant Parmigiana Packets
A Healthier Take on a Traditional Italian Meal
Mario Batali joined "Good Morning America" to celebrate his sixth cookbook, "Italian Grill." Grilling eggplant brings out its smoky flavor, and it requires far less oil than frying, making this a much lighter version than the all-too-typical tired eggplant Parm. Serve hot or at room temperature, two little packets per person.
Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.
Trim the eggplant and cut lengthwise into Â¼-inch-thick slices, discarding the first and last slices from each one; you should have 12 slices. Lay the slices on a baking sheet and lightly brush on both sides with olive oil, using about 3 tablespoons oil. Place on the grill and cook, turning once, until golden brown and soft, about 2 minutes on each side; return the slices to the baking sheet as they are cooked.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, thyme, and tomato sauce. Lay the eggplant slices out on a work surface, with a narrow end toward you. Divide the bread crumb mixture among them, using a scant 1/4 cup for each and placing it on the lower half of each one. Sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano and lay the slices of mozzarella on top. Fold the tops of the eggplant slices over to create little packages and transfer to a clean baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or as long as overnight, to marry the flavors.
Preheat the gas grill again or prepare another fire in the charcoal grill.
Carefully brush the eggplant packets on both sides with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place them gently on the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 2 minutes, or until nice grill marks appear on the first side. Gently flip over with a large spatula and cook for 2 more minutes, or until marked on the second side and hot throughout.
Carefully transfer the packets to a platter and sprinkle with the basil. Serve hot or at room temperature.
More Info: Vegetarian