Classic basic version is all I have to offer. But it is so good and a perfect meal for a special guest, a sick friend or when you might just need some comfort food.
Please note: this is NOT a Yummo Rachael Ray 30 minutes meal. Although I do love her 30 minute ideas, this requires patience and a little time. It is worth it….trust me….oh and the leftovers…OH MY! It might be wise to hide a small plate in the back of the fridge while you are serving everyone else….as a back up!
2 medium to large eggplants
kosher salt (or regular if that is all you have)
1 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1 28-ounce can of your favorite marinara sauce (or two jars or homemade…whatever you prefer)
1 cup fresh basil chopped or shredded into small pieces
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese (for serving)
Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)
First (and most important in my opinion) slice your eggplant in about 1/2-inch thick slices. Put them in a large bowl (I had to use 2) and salt each slice with your kosher salt, on both sides. You will need about 1/2 teaspoon per slice. Let this rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. When ready, rinse your eggplant well and dry your eggplant completely. I put mine on paper towels to remove all of the water.
In a large pan heat the canola oil (about 1 inch of oil) on medium heat while you get the eggplant ready.
Second, make a little assembly line: in 3 shallow bowls (I used pie plates) have your flour, eggs (whisked) and bread crumbs. Working in batches, dip each eggplant slice in the flour, eggs and then breadcrumbs. Fry your pieces in canola oil until golden brown on each side. You will need about 2-3 minutes per side. Please note that every time you add oil, give the oil time to heat up before adding more eggplant. I put all my fried eggplants on paper towel lined baking sheets, I want to absorb any excess oil. When all is done set aside. Time to assemble the whole madness.
Heat your oven to 400F
Using a large baking dish (9X13), start with 1/2 cup of sauce followed by eggplant slices, top with another 1 cup of sauce, shredded basil then cheese. Repeat this twice and finish with cheese. You may have to cut some pieces in half to make everything fit in your dish. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. I did add some more cheese once I removed the foil because I “lost” some that was stuck to the foil…I couldn’t let that happen…I love cheese A LOT!
Note: I want to remind you of a few things. Quality does matter here, as you notice, very few ingredients are involved so use the best you have or can find. For example if your sauce has a lot of salt in it then you might only taste the saltiness in your finished dish. Also please do not skip the “salting” and draining of the eggplant. I know it’s a pain but it is SO worth it.
Here is a look at my eggplant parmesan. I was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing right out of the oven. So here is a look after I crazily served everyone and then ran back to get my camera!
It was so delicious, Matt loved it, his mom said it was great and even the girls ate every single bite on their plate. WIN!
Printer friendly: Eggplant Parmesan
Peace and patience,
note: my recipe is also featured on Delightfully Dowling: Mangia Mondays