This dish--in its many variations--has traveled the world with me. I made it in Los Angeles for a big dinner with all my friends. I made it in a fraternity house in Berkeley, where I couldn't be sure I wasn't getting eggplant-infused diseases. I made it in a hostel in Budapest during Passover, adding matzah for some extra crunch. I made it in a small Spanish town called Conil de la Frontera, where I cooked for 9 people and the stove kept short circuiting every time I tried to sautee the eggplant. And now, in San Francisco. I can vouch for it: if you like eggplant, cheese, and red sauce, and you like having money left in your wallet, this one is for you.
HEALTHIEST, CHEAPEST EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
1 Eggplant ($1.49)
1 jar Clasico carmelized onion and roasted garlic tomato sauce ($1.99)
About 1 cup parmesan cheese - I like Trader Joe's shaved Asiago, Romano, Parmesan ($2.99)
Garlic or garlic powder
The Grand Total: $6.47, which will make you at least 2-3 servings (I like taking it to work for a hot lunch the following day.)
Drizzle with about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and try to spread the olive oil around with your fingers or a spoon. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder--about 1 teaspoon each of salt and garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Note: I usually use about 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic chopped up, but I was lazy after a long day.
Note: If you are in a time crunch, sautee the eggplant instead of roasting it. Just put olive oil in a sautee pan over medium heat, and sautee the eggplant in batches so that it becomes translucent. Then just layer it in a casserole dish and broil it, following this recipe, if you want it to be crispy on top. Or, if you don't mind eating delicious "eggplant shmush," as my friend Becca calls it, just toss the sauce and cheese and all the eggplant into your sautee pan until it's all hot. Then, plate it and gobble up.