Baked Eggplant Parm

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I walked in the door after a dinner meeting last week to the scent of baked tomatoes and garlic. "Tod, you ordered a pizza again, hey?" I called out as I dropped my bag at the door. But no. So inspired by this recipe in the NY Times, he had cooked for himself. I was so inspired by the heavenly scent that I had a taste of the leftovers right then and there. It was good. Really, really good. We made it again tonight and I wanted to record our minor variations for the Japan kitchen.

Baked Eggplant Parm
serves 4

1 cup panko (bread crumbs)
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup red grape tomatoes
1 cup yellow grape tomatoes
1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
10 Japanese eggplants (~900g), quartered lengthwise and cut into cubes
2 springs basil (~14 leaves), roughly chopped
3 huge cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
scant 1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 whole milk buffalo mozzarella (~1 cup), sliced into matchsticks

Combine the first six ingredients (panko, pecorino, parsley, oil, salt and pepper) until you have a nice, even crumb. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine everything else except the mozzarella and crumbs. Toss well to coat, then stir in half the crumbs. Spread into a 9x13 baking dish or large nabe. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Top with mozzarella and bake at 170C for about an hour. It will probably need to be covered with foil or a lid halfway through the baking.

Let rest for ten minutes before serving. Is almost better the second day.

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