Beer Battered Eggplant Parmesan

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Traditional recipes for Eggplant Parmesan include a lot of cheese, but this uses beer to add depth of flavor to an "almost vegan" interpretation of a classic. It isn't completely cheese-less or it wouldn't be Parmesan, but the cheese is confined to the batter and topping.

This is not a quick meal; it requires a bit more than an hour from start to finish for prepping the sauce, then battering, frying, and baking. The results are worth the effort, though! As as decadent as it seems, each portion is about 500 calories for a large serving so it isn't a complete diet blowout.

Beer Battered Eggplant Parmesan
serves 4

2 eggplants (medium-sized American ones)
1 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1/4 cup + 2 T Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup beer
1 can diced tomatoes
1 large onion
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp dried basil, oregano or herbes de provence
4 T safflower oil
3 T olive oil
1 bunch spinach

Slice the eggplants into 2 cm rounds. Rub with salt and allow to sit while you prepare the batter & sauce.

Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute in 1T of olive oil until the onions are translucent. Pour in the tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper and basil.

Mix together the flour, cheese and black pepper. Stir in the beer. Check the consistency and adjust with more flour or beer as necessary.

Rinse and trim the spinach. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oils in a skillet. Pat the eggplant rounds dry with a towel and dip them in the batter. Fry them on both sides until golden brown. Drain on paper towels while you cook each batch.

In a baking dish, spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom, then arrange a layer of eggplant. Cover with sauce. Lay in all the spinach leaves. Continue adding layers of eggplant and sauce, ending with a thick layer of sauce. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 170c for 25 minutes or until the cheese is browned and crispy.

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