(Submitted by Mrs. Ballantine)
McCutcheon’s is tucked away in Frederick, Maryland; a quaint town with tree-lined streets, neighbors who know and generally like each other, and generations of families who are proud of where they come from and where their children call home. It is small town America. Because of this tightly bound community. It is an everyday occurrence when familiar faces wander in through our shop’s doors. It is common for us to hug our customers and ask them how the kids are or how the farm is doing. The people of Frederick know us and we know them. That’s part of the reason McCutcheon’s is a special place.
This recipe came from one of those familiar faces that wandered into our shop. She taught me and my siblings in high school. She taught me how to appreciate books and the power of knowing how to write well. When she suggested this recipe, it was with pride that I whipped it up and posted it on here to share with all of you. Thank you, Mrs. Ballantine, for teaching me when I was a kid and teaching me now that I am a young adult. I hope I do you justice: both in my writing and my cooking.
A note from Mrs. Ballantine: “We love this marinara sauce. I use it in my lighter version of eggplant parmesan. This healthy recipe eliminates the breading and frying.”
- 2 large eggplants
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 large clove garlic, grated
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 qt sized jar of McCutcheon’s marinara sauce, divided
- 9 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced or small chunks
- 6 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Heat the oven to 425°F.
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds and toss with the salt in a large colander, and allow to sit and drain in the sink for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Without rinsing the eggplant, toss them with the vinaigrette, and let marinate for 15 minutes.
- Grill the eggplant slices until tender (about 5 minutes per side) or roast at 400*F. for about 20 minutes or until tender.
- Pour about a cup of marina sauce in bottom of baking dish. Place the eggplant slices on top of sauce. Then place the mozzarella pieces on top and pour remaining marinara sauce over eggplant.
- Finally sprinkle on the Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the marinara sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is melted. Let rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of pasta or with crusty bread and salad.