Recipe: Eggplant parm makeover

Eggplant Parmigiana
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 ea. Nice big Italian eggplants
  • 8 oz sheep's milk ricotta
  • 1 oz. Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 2 ea. Eggs
  • 1 bunch fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 1 pt. Homemade Marinara Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dry Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped Italian Parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Chile Flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sea Salt
This is a lightened up version of the traditional eggplant parmesan where the whole frying part is omitted. This recipe calls for both dry oregano and fresh marjoram because the flavors are similar and it increases complexity, but don't sweat it if you can't find marjoram. Also, if sheep's milk ricotta is unavailable, increase the amount of Pecorino Romano by half.

This can be done on a bbq or in an oven with wood chips (assuming you've already capped the smoke alarm with a shower cap and have good ventilation.)

Preparation:
  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees before starting.

  2. Cut off the stem of the eggplants. Use a potato pealer to make alternating inch wide pealed strips from stem to bottom, so it looks like a striped football. Cut the ½ pealed eggplant into inch thick rounds. You should get 3 slices per person (about 12 slices for 4)

  3. Rub the slices liberally with olive oil, salt, chile flakes and dry oregano. Lay on a cookie sheet and bake until browned on both sides and soft in the middle, approximately 30 minutes

  4. While the eggplant is baking, mix the ricotta, egg, pecorino and chopped marjoram leaves. Season to taste. Important: Pecorino can be very salty, so taste before seasoning.

  5. Fill the bottom of a casserole (big enough to hold all the rounds face up) with marinara sauce, add the eggplant and top each eggplant with the cheese mixture. Put back into the oven and bake until the cheese is melty and browned and the sauce is starting to bubble (5-10 minutes).

  6. Remove the Casserole from the oven and stack the thickest slices on the bottom of 4 bowls and stack the next biggest on top, and the smallest on top of that. Spoon the marinara evenly over the top of your reassembled eggplants.
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About Dan Scherotter:

With a resume that begins at La Academia Italiana della Cucina in Bologna and a subsequent 2 years in that city's restaurants, continues with an internship under Gary Danko at the Ritz Carlton, and includes stints with several other well known San Francisco chefs before he landed at Palio, it's not surprising that Chef Dan (who became Executive Chef in 1999, partner in 2002, and sole proprietor in 2006) is the one who gets the call from sophisticated San Franciscans who appreciate great cooking.

From the Consul General of Italy to executives at Alitalia and the Italian Trade Commission, those who know authentic Italian fare eventually find their way to his door- and return again and again.

Scherotter spends a great deal of time studying and adapting authentic regional Italian specialties to the California table. Fluent in Italian, he visits Italy annually where he takes classes, visits with friends (including Palio founders Gianni & Jette Fassio who now grow grapes outside Asti) and constantly researches the best that today's Italian food and wine has to offer.

A founding member of Slow Foods San Francisco ( a movement founded in Italy that is dedicated to preserving and fostering "from scratch" artisanal cooking), he continually seeks out the best of ingredients- emphasizing local organic produce, sustainable meats, poultry and fish and hand crafted products such as cheeses and chocolates from small family farms and companies both here and abroad.

A California native and William and Mary College graduate with a degree in philosophy, Dan currently resides in San Francisco with his wine importer wife Nina (who he married in a ceremony near Cefalu, the Sicilian setting for the film Cinema Paradiso) and his son, born in 2009. As a four-time president of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and a current board member, he is well known for working tirelessly to promote and protect the entire hospitality industry.

When he's not cooking at Palio or traveling, he consults on the latest food trends for multinational food companies, writes menus for fellow restaurateurs, enjoys gin martinis, Latin American literature, Danish Modern design, Puccini Opera and improvisational jazz.

Palio d'Asti
640 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: 415.395.9800
Website: www.paliodasti.com

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