Eggplant Parmesan (version XLVII)

6 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus oil to saute eggplant (divided)
2 large eggplants, sliced into half-inch rounds, skin on
1 cup flour
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
cooked spaghetti and tomato sauce

Caramelize onions by sauteing them in butter over high heat until they start to brown, then reduce heat to low and allow to cook slowly until caramel in color, about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Season to taste with salt and pepper when finished. Set aside.

Bring small pot of water to boil and blanch basil leaves in water 20 seconds. Remove basil to bowl of ice water to cool. (This sets the color so you'll have bright green basil oil.) When leaves are cool, wring them out and puree in blender with 1/2 cup olive oil for 1 minute. Set aside.

Dredge eggplant slices in flour, then in beaten eggs, and then coat thoroughly with bread crumbs.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute eggplant in olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When eggplant is golden brown on both sides, remove it to baking sheet and bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, flipping it after first 10 minutes.

Remove eggplant from oven and lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Top each slice with a mound of caramelized onions and then a drizzle of basil oil; finally, top with mozzarella. Return to oven for 10 more minutes until cheese is bubbly brown. Serve with spaghetti and a simple tomato sauce. Garnish with remaining basil oil.

Makes 4 to 6 servings of 2 slices each.

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