Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Meat-like No-Meat Eggplant Parm

by Csillag, Diana

In the GFFA, spacefarers did not often eat fresh foods of any kind, whether meat, fruit, or vegetables. So Booster Terrik decided to trade for fresh ingredients to cook up for trade; he did very well selling chutneys and preserves, for example. But more precious were meaty, hot comfort dishes, but meats tended to be very expensive. The best meats at a space station or ship were often embalmed or frozen for long periods of time and the origin of the meats were questionable. Vegetables were more reliable, though the he-men who made up most of Booster's trade preferred meat, and lots of it.

You'd never know it looking at Booster, but he was basically a vegetarian. It's not that he didn't like meat, but he preferred vegetables and appreciated their greater variety. And to make more money, it behooved him to make vegetables appear more meat-like. This layered eggplant vegetable dish is really substantial and has as many calories and comfort as any meat-laden recipe. In fact, it often made vegetable-believers out of "meatasauruses," with many of them declaring they could not believe there was no meat in it. And they were willing to pay top-credit for it, too!

  • 2 medium to large-sized eggplants
  • milk
  • large jar spaghetti sauce, flavor of your choice (1 lb 10 oz / 26 oz / 730 g — about 6½ cups)
  • half a large jar marinara sauce (about 3 cups or so, 13 oz / 365 g)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs (about 3 cups)
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • salt
  • pepper
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 8 oz / 225 g shredded cheese (five-cheese blend or mozarella are good)
Peel the eggplants and slice crosswise into ½-inch / 1-cm rounds. Place into a large glass bowl and pour milk over to cover the slices. Let soak for one hour to reduce bitterness.

Pour the spaghetti and marinara sauces into a medium saucepan, and add chopped onion and pepper and simmer over medium heat. Keep hot.

Crack two eggs into a shallow dish large enough to hold the largest eggplant slice and scramble lightly with a fork. In another shallow dish pour seasoned Italian bread crumbs.

Heat oven to 350°F / 175°C.

Pour about 1/3-inch / 1-cm of vegetable oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat till the oil appears to be "shimmery."

Drain the eggplant and pat dry. Lightly season slices with salt and pepper. Dredge both sides of each slice of eggplant first in the eggs, then in breadcrumbs.

Place breaded eggplant into oil and brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels to wick away excess oil.

Spray a 9-inch x 13-inch (23-cm x 33-cm) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer eggplant slices on the bottom of the baking dish, and then follow by covering that with warm tomato sauce, and then cover with shredded cheese mixture. Repeat till you're out of ingredients; there should be enough for 3 layers. End with a thick top-layer of cheese.

Place the baking dish on an oven tray lined with foil, to prevent a mess if you get spill-over. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the cheese brown and bubbly. Be careful not to burn the cheese.

Makes 8 servings.

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