like most other children, i used to hate eggplant. i continued doing so until i worked in a tapas restaurant in high school where they served the most delicious breaded eggplant covered with marinara and alfredo sauces. i think they called it eggplant parmesan. well i’m not sure how to prepare the classic version of eggplant parm and frankly i don’t care because this recipe is so delicious. and made with my beautiful farmer’s market eggplant! the parmesan happens to be in quotes because there is not a speck of parmesan in this recipe, just mozzarella. i just didn’t feel like calling it: breaded and pan fried eggplant in a bed of marinara topped with melted mozzarella and (get this) pesto.
the pesto is the quiet star that brings this recipe together. rather than a basil-y marinara sauce where the flavor can all too easily get lost i made a batch of the most basic pesto with my pile of basil. the pesto doesn’t take over the dish either as it can do because its just a small amount on top. it takes this from any old eggplant recipe to something deserving to be in a gourmet kitchen. (my delicious recipe for the pesto is here but i didn’t bother with the parmesan in this case because i didn’t have any and i wanted dinner, not a trip to the store!)