Eggplant Parmesan (version XXII)

2 pound eggplants, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 eggs, beaten
3/4 to 1 cup flour
soybean oil for frying
1 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
For the Sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
28 ounces whole tomatoes (1 can)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
grated parmesan cheese, optional

Dip the eggplant slices in the egg, then in the flour. Pour enough soybean oil into a large frying pan to come an inch up the side. Fry the eggplant slices for about 3 minutes on each side. Drain.

In an 8-by-12-inch ovenproof glass pan, place a layer of fried eggplant, then a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering two more times so that there are three layers of eggplant and three of mozzarella. Bake for about 5 minutes in a 500-degree oven.

To make the sauce, sauté the garlic in the olive oil . When it starts to turn golden, add the tomatoes with their juice. Break each tomato in half with a knife. Bring to a boil. Add the parsley, a pinch of salt, pepper to taste, and the bay leaf. Let boil for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes.

Slice the baked eggplant into squares. Place on plates and top with ladles of the sauce. Top with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

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