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So much talk of Grandma (click here) led to a major hankering for her eggplant parmigiana.  In my now wheat-defying life (click here), eggplant parmigiana has been absent since December of 2013.  Waaaaay too long!

I did find a local restaurant that offers gluten free options for many traditional Italian dishes.  The problem is, you need to plan well in advance, and call before the food prep guys arrive in the morning.  Turns out that eggplant parm is prepped early – sliced, allowed to perspire, and then egg-battered and breaded up for the dinner rush.  I did finally plan ahead enough one particularly busy week, calling a day in advance for my gluten free eggplant slices from heaven.  It would just be Dennis and I for dinner, so I made a dinner reservation at the same time.

Midday, the day I spent dreaming of warm flavors from the past, I got a phone call from the restaurant.  I only ordered one gluten free eggplant parmigiana, but my reservation was for two.  Did I want two gluten free dinners?  Thinking of the months and seasons without my favorite meal on the planet (click here), I hurriedly explained only I was gluten free, but PLEASE prepare two for me, so I could bring one home for later.

High expectations often lead to disappointment, as did my unbattered and unbreaded (not even the advertised gluten free bread crumbs) eggplant, which ended up sandwiched between mozzarella cheese and red sauce.  It was uninspired, it was ill understood, and I ended up with an entire extra meal of this sad attempt at wheat avoidance.

Last week as Dennis spent his nights in the kitchen working on Thanksgiving recipes, I elbowed out a section of turf for myself, and tried out my version of gluten free eggplant parmigiana.  The store-bought bread crumbs I found bear a closer resemblance to traditional bread crumbs than other gluten free varieties.  And I admit that I also used a gluten free flour before the egg-wash.

The end result: not Grandma’s eggplant parm, but definitely a dinner worth a huge sigh, a glass of deep red wine, and leftovers frozen and labeled “gluten free food” so that no one else will go near them.

GF eggplant parm 2


About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


    • Claire Ziamandanis

      Yes, the wine is always good! And homemade eggplant parm always beats what you get in a restaurant. Lesson learned!

  1. I share the soul satisfying flavor sensations of Mom’s (grandma’s) eggplant parm! I remember it sizzling in the well-seasoned cast iron pan that was the source of many different meals. However, in my quest for less fried foods, I have morphed some of the same ingredients into an eggplant casserole dish which we are serving this Thanksgiving. It has diced eggplant, onion and garlic – nuked to reduce the liquid volume and layered in a baking dish with tomato/meat sauce, browned Italian sausage, fresh basil, and a mixture of cheeses (mozzarella, pecorino romano, and parm). This is baked in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 350. It’s pretty good (and no gluten). Great as a side dish or lunch with a side salad…

    • Claire Ziamandanis

      Sounds like an option I need to try! Certainly less labor intensive than the dipping and dripping and gooey hands in the traditional version!

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