Out of all the ‘parms,’ eggplant parmesan is probably my least favorite (woah, wait a minute…). Veal would have to be number one and chicken is a very close second. Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying I don’t like eggplant…eggplant parmesan is delicious despite its fierce competition. Constantly being overshadowed by its two big brothers—it must be tough.
Every dog has it’s day and today is eggplant’s day (on a much more positive note). I thought I would preface that just to tribute how good this recipe turned out. I prepare eggplant parmesan using the exact same recipe and method as I do chicken parmesan. Eggplant alone doesn’t have a lot of flavor so the breading, olive oil, sauce, and cheese take over, leaving you with a very similar result to chicken parm when it’s all said and done.
This was my first attempt at eggplant parmesan. I basically winged it with some excellent results (this was for Valentines Day so the stakes were VERY high). The secret to veal, chicken, or eggplant parm is adding lots of parmesan cheese to the breading mixture—a pro tip from my brother-in-law, Scott. They don’t call it eggplant parmesan for nothing.
Another shortcut—I usually used jarred pasta sauce if I’m in a hurry. It’s one less thing to worry about when preparing a recipe with several moving parts. I’ll leave you with one final note. Use plenty of mozzarella cheese to top it all off. I’m talking about a solid layer of cheese that completely covers the sauce and eggplant. Perfetto.Print
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2 thick slices
- 1 1/2 cups dry, unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup (for breading), plus 1/4 cup (for topping) grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 8 ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine (optional)
- salt to taste
- Cut the eggplant into 1/4 – 1/2 thick slices and place on a cooling rack or paper towel. Sprinkle each side with a little salt to draw out the liquid and bitterness. Let air dry for at least 30 minutes. Press down with a paper towel when the 30 minutes is up to remove any remaining moisture.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs, on a pie plate and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and water and set aside. On another plate, spread the flour.
- Coat the eggplant with the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture and then coat with the bread crumb mixture, patting with your fingers to make the crumbs stick.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and sauté until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove eggplant and set on a plate.
- Lightly oil a 13 inch baking dish and layer bottom with 1 cup of pasta sauce. Arrange the eggplant in two rows over the sauce, slightly overlapping them. Cover with the remaining cup of pasta sauce and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Top with the full bag of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes and turn oven up to 400° F.
- While eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta al dente. Serve eggplant over pasta.