Why? Because it is cold enough that you don't might turning on the oven.
And its warm enough that grilling eggplant outside is still pleasant.
And eggplant is still readily available, as are decent tomatoes.
The eggplant parmesan that I grew up eating was nothing like lasagna, so I am always surprised when I see eggplant parmesan served in dense slices, smothered in red sauce. This is how I picture eggplant parmesan:
I make eggplant parmesan following a recipe that my dad has always used. Though, it should be said, he microwaves, then slices and fries his eggplant, whereas I just slice it and grill it. I love the taste of eggplant off of the charcoal grill, plus it is less fatty to prepare it that way. In addition, I like to grill bread (pizza crust really) to serve at the meal, so I do use up the charcoal. Plus, I have one of those cheap charcoal chimneys that makes it easy-peasy to get the grill going.
Back to the bread: do you see that liquid in the pan above? It is one of the best tasting things ever, and having fresh bread to soak it up is heavenly. I use this pizza dough recipe.
As for the eggplant parmesan recipe? I've got that right here...
adapted from "The Paupers Cookbook" and Rossie's Dad
5 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium eggplants
1 pound mozzarella***
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
(start the grill, preheat the oven to 325)
1. Slice eggplants into 1/2-inch thick rounds, brush with olive oil. Grill both sides until cooked through and slightly browned.
2. Wash, seed, and finely dice the tomatoes. Drain in a colander for 20 minutes.
3. Remove tomatoes to a large bowl and mix with basil leaves, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, one teaspoon salt, and one teaspoon pepper.
4. Spread half the tomato mix in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Then use all the eggplant to make the next layer. Top eggplant with slices of mozzarella cheese. Lastly, spread the remaining tomato mix on top.
5. Bake at 325 for 45 mins. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
***I think this might be really good with ½ ricotta or feta and ½ mozzarella, including a layer of mozzarella on top to get all crispy and brown.