Easy and delicious crispy eggplant parmesan layered with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and baked in a cast-iron skillet.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices (or 2 medium eggplants)
- 24 ounces marinara
- 1 1/2 cups dry, unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 cup coarsely grated/shredded parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for breading, plus 1/2 cup for topping)
- 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (plus more for garnish)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced (plus more for garnish)
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine (optional)
- Cut the eggplant into roughly 1/4 inch thick round slices and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towel. You want paper towel on each side of the eggplant. You can stack multiple rows separated by paper towels.
- Sprinkle each side with a little salt to draw out the liquid. Let rest for 45-60 minutes. Press down with the paper towel at the end to soak up any remaining surface moisture. This step is critical—do not skip
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Combine breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs, on a 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, and then fully coat with the breadcrumb mixture, patting with your fingers to ensure the breadcrumbs adhere. Set aside.
- Heat about half the olive oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. You want enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. Add the eggplant in batches and sauté until golden brown, about 30 seconds-1 minute per side. Remove eggplant and place on a baking sheet. The eggplant may brown faster as the oil continues to heat. You may need to add more oil halfway through from absorption. Be careful not to burn eggplant.
- Let the skillet cool off the burner for 5 minutes. Use a paper towel to give the skillet a quick wipe, soaking up any excess oil and burnt chunks from the eggplant.
- Layer bottom of the skillet with 1 cup of marinara. Add a layer of eggplant, filling as much of the bottom of the pan as possible with no overlap. You can half slices of eggplant for better coverage if you prefer, but not necessary. Top with a 1/2 cup layer of marinara, then 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1 cup mozzarella.
- Create the second layer starting with eggplant, 1/2 cup layer of marinara, then 1/4 cup parmesan, and finish with 1 cup mozzarella (a little extra cheese is OK too).
- Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until cheese starts to bubble and slightly brown on the top. You can finish with a quick broil at the very end for a little charred cheese if you prefer, just note it will brown FAST. Let cool for 5 minutes, garnish with fresh basil and parsley if desired, and serve.
- While eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta al dente. Serve eggplant with a side of pasta if desired.
Draining the excess water from eggplant is the most critical aspect of good eggplant parmesan. It’s the difference between crispy and melt-in-your-mouth eggplant versus spongy and tasting like you’re actually eating a vegetable.
Keywords: eggplant parmesan, eggplant recipes