{ Eggplant Parmesan }

 

You know those “learn-to-love it” foods? The strange vegetables and odd aquatic animals that you refuse to eat throughout your childhood but eventually develop a tolerance and than passion for as you get older. I think it is safe to say that eggplant is one of these foods–along with brussel sprouts, olives, shell fish, and stinky cheeses (just to name a few!). And the way most come to love this waxy, purple sponge of a vegetable is through eggplant parmesan–people will give almost anything a chance if it is breaded, fried, and/or covered in cheese. And most likely, they will enjoy it!

If you have tried eggplant parmesan before and the texture still bothers you, do not stop reading and dismiss this recipe. I too have had some bad eggplant parm experiences, but I promise this one might just convert you. Oftentimes, I find that restaurants don’t slice the eggplant thin enough because they want to minimize the preparation and frying time. This shortcut compromises the entire dish, still leaving you with that mysterious itching sensation on the roof of your mouth. But my recipe calls for a very thin slices, which mask the spongy texture under breaded, salty, cheesy goodness!

I fry up an eggplant or two in the beginning of the week, leaving the disks in the fridge for a light snack or as an ingredient for a more complex meal (i.e. eggplant parm lasagna or sandwiches). Of course, I also use them for this easy eggplant parmesan dish!! Enjoy the recipe and give eggplant a chance!

{ Ingredients for Fried Eggplant }

  • 1-2 large, ripened eggplants (sliced about 1/4″ thick)
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups of Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 3 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Kosher Salt

{ To Make Fried Eggplant } Set up three bowls; one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs, and one with the breadcrumbs combined with the parmigiano reggiano cheeses.

Run the sliced eggplant disks through a standard breading proceduredredge in the flour (shaking off the excess), then through the egg wash, and then through the breadcrumbs.
Pour the vegetable oil into a large skillet until it reaches a 3/4″ thickness. Heat the the oil over a medium high flame until it is good and hot (test by flicking in pieces of breadcrumbs–they should sizzle, but not burn!). Fry the eggplant in batches for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until it appears golden brown.

Remove the eggplant from the pan and sprinkle with kosher salt. Allow eggplant to cool on a bed of lettuce leaves or paper towels (although the lettuce absorbs the grease much better!).

{ Ingredients for Simple Sauce } 

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

{ To Make Simple Sauce } Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Sautee the onion for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two (do not burn the garlic). Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and tomatoes.

NOTE: If you like your tomato sauce spicy, then add some crushed red pepper flakes at this time! Cook for 10 minutes.

{ To Assemble the Eggplant Parmesan } Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

Arrange the eggplant on a baking sheet, one layer thick. Spoon some of the simple tomato sauce onto the tops and then add a 1″ cube of fresh (or aged) mozzarella cheese on top of that.

Bake for 18-10 minutes, or until the cheese becomes bubbly and golden. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve!

7 Comments

Filed under Recipes

7 responses to “{ Eggplant Parmesan }

  1. as a tapanade with selcis of bread, or eat it with fork, or even as a relish to top a burger. The traditional za’alook is made with eggplants however for me the zucchini holds up better and I like it to be a little

  2. You’ve impressed us all with that posting!

  3. If you are looking for an eggplant Parmesan recipe by a person of German heritage, here’s mine. I make my tomato sauce in the food processor with peeled fresh tomatos, onion, a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil, half to full cup of red wine, a large can of tomato paste, salt + pepper to taste. Blend till smooth as possible. I coat both sides of the eggplant slices in olive oil & grill outside on my propane grill on medium at 5 minutes a side. With my food processor I shred a block of mozarella & a block of parmesan. Layer eggplant, cheese, and sauce in casserole dish & bake an hour at 350. Everything can be substituted & added to but the great thing about grilling the eggplant slices is that you don’t have to salt the eggplant beforehand to draw out the bitter juice; it comes out during grilling.

  4. If you are looking for an eplggant Parmesan recipe by a person of German heritage, here’s mine. I make my tomato sauce in the food processor with peeled fresh tomatos, onion, a tablespoon or 2 of olive oil, half to full cup of red wine, a large can of tomato paste, salt + pepper to taste. Blend till smooth as possible. I coat both sides of the eplggant slices in olive oil & grill outside on my propane grill on medium at 5 minutes a side. With my food processor I shred a block of mozarella & a block of parmesan. Layer eplggant, cheese, and sauce in casserole dish & bake an hour at 350. Everything can be substituted & added to but the great thing about grilling the eplggant slices is that you don’t have to salt the eplggant beforehand to draw out the bitter juice; it comes out during grilling.

  5. Donna

    I have an eggplant in the fridge as I type this. I am going to make this on the weekend! Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Perfect little low carb versions of bruschetta. It;s such a nice idea to use something delicious for the base as well as the topping.

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