This Eggplant Parmigiana dutch oven recipe is written by the Mad Chef of the Forest. It can be baked in a #10 dutch oven, or better yet, use a larger #14 dutch oven and utilize a deep pan set on top of three or four small rocks inside the oven.
Dutch Oven Tips From the Mad Chef of the Forest: "I use beach pebbles inside the dutch oven (old dry ones, so they don't explode), but you can also purchase specialty racks that fit inside your dutch oven. Either way, you want to center the baking pan in the oven for even heating.
"To utilize space inside the oven when using a baking pan, use the deepest pan possible. A loaf pan works well. I use the throw-a-way foil ones bought in the supermarket and they also make deep 8" foil round ones perfect for a dutch oven.
"I prefer baking highly acidic tomato sauce dishes in a separate baking pan instead of directly in the oven. The acids in tomatoes tend to strip the seasoning from the cast iron, making it imperative to re-season it every time, but you can get much more volume baking directly in the oven. At home I make my own sauce, but for camping, it is much easier to use a pre-made sauce from a jar."
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Get the Coals Hot: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
- bread crumbs
- tomato sauce
- olive oil
- italian seasonings
- salt & pepper
- thinly sliced or shredded mozzarella cheese
- grated parmesan cheese
- Slice the eggplant into about 3/8 inch thick slabs and brown both sides in oil. This step is time-consuming, so use the biggest cast iron pan you have. Try using a #14 dutch oven and its lid turned upside down on a grill. To get the pan really hot and brown the eggplant faster, use peanut oil for this segment.
- Set the browned pieces aside on a plate or pan.
- Beat a couple eggs in a somewhat flat-bottomed bowl or pan.
- Put bread crumbs in a bowl, deep plate or pan. Cracker crumbs or flour can be substituted.
- Using a fork or tongs, dip each browned slice of eggplant in the beaten egg then immediately into the bread crumbs and cover both sides.
- Spread out a layer of these slices in the olive-oiled oven or in the oiled baking pan.
- Next, spread a layer of sauce, seasonings, and thinly sliced garlic on the slices of eggplant.
- Then add a layer of mozzarella cheese and top with very thin tomato slices.
- Sprinkle some black pepper to finish and then layer in some fresh basil leaves (optional, but delicious).
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the whole pan.
- Start the layers over again sprinkling each with olive oil.
- The final layer should be eggplant slices and gets a good dose of parmesan cheese on top of just a little mozzarella. Be sure to not over do it so much that the lid of the oven touches the cheesy top.
- Bake with top and bottom coals until sauce bubbles and blends into the eggplant.
- Test the eggplant by poking it with a fork. It is done when the eggplant is very fork-tender and not rubbery.
About the Chef: Bob Sollima, "The Mad Chef of the Forrest" has been dutch oven baking for almost 40 years, 26 years of which he spent living in the backcountry. Sollima has camped extensively the past two summers and has cooked dutch oven goodies for various celebrities in the backcountry.
"You really have to camp for a spell to appreciate the wonders of the dutch oven. Anything you can bake in your conventional oven at home, you can bake in a dutch oven, and most of the time it tastes better in the dutch oven. Maybe it's the great outdoors or more likely, the sealed-in blended flavors one gets from the dutch oven by the campfire." ~ The Mad Chef of the Forest
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