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LOW-FAT COOKING

Svelte Eggplant

November 14, 1996|DONNA DEANE | TIMES TEST KITCHEN DIRECTOR

Fried eggplant is one of those things I usually don't think of for low-fat cooking. It's basically an oil sponge of a vegetable.

But if you "dry-fry" eggplant with no oil at all, it comes out beautifully browned, ready for further cooking in stews or to eat topped with melted nonfat mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs. The technique is a terrific alternative to regular oil frying if you're making eggplant Parmesan.

There's no need to salt and drain the eggplant before cooking when you use this method, but be sure the skillet is hot before adding the eggplant slices.

EGGPLANT STACK

Serve this with a good crispy baguette.

4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices eggplant

1/4 cup shredded nonfat mozzarella cheese

1/2 pound brown mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Nonstick olive oil cooking spray

1 teaspoon chopped oregano leaves

1 teaspoon chopped basil leaves

Salt, pepper

8 thin slices Roma tomatoes

2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 thin slices

8 basil leaves, cut into thin strips crosswise

Brown slices of eggplant in hot skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to baking pan.

Top each eggplant slice with 1 tablespoon shredded mozzarella cheese.

Saute mushrooms and garlic, in skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, until tender. Stir in chopped oregano and basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide and spoon mushrooms over eggplant slices. Top each with 2 slices tomato, then slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until eggplant is hot throughout and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with strips of basil and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

84 calories; 190 mg sodium; 11 mg cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein; 0.74 gram fiber.

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