I'm going to start today off with a pretty bold statement: Eggplant Parmesan, is by far, the best thing I cook!
Okay, let that sink in for a minute.
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I'm not being cocky, it's the truth. It has taken me years and dozens upon dozens of trials, but about 2 years ago, my husband declared "you've done it". That's just all there is to it, "I've done it".
Anyone can make eggplant (it's actually not that hard) but I've finally figured out the key to an amazing, no, correction, THE MOST AMAZING, Eggplant Parmesan, is having lots of super thin layers. Trust me when I say, if you don't have a mandolin, find one. Borrow one from a neighbor. Buy one. It's so worth it.
So, why on earth has it taken me this long to share the recipe with you, you might be wondering. Well, honestly, it's really tough to give exact amounts. When it comes to true Italian cooking; the recipes I grew up with, it's very hard to measure. I was taught to cook with the old method of "a pinch of this, a palmful of that, until it tastes right". So the other day I tried my absolute best to take note of the amounts I was using. I apologize now, if my instructions aren't as precise as usual, but I tried.
Need To Know Tips & Info
I would suggest first making a batch of My Favorite Marinara. This will give you enough sauce for the Eggplant Parmesan as well as enough for pasta, should you wish to serve with pasta. If not, my best guess would be 2 jars of store bought stuff. I'll try not to judge. Try.
When it comes to slicing the eggplant, set your mandolin slicer to ⅛th of an inch. Go ahead and leave the skin on, it will be so tender when it's done that you won't even notice it.
While this recipe is easy, it IS time consuming. To save some time, I usually have at least 2 fry pans going at once. You don't want to crowd your eggplant in the fry pans or it will just end up soggy. I've got a huge fry pan that I love, that easily fits 5 slices and I also used a large omelet style fry pan which only held 2 slices. Just figure our what you've got to work with and make it happen.
When the eggplant is done frying, you've got to place them on a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Don't worry, you don't need to dirty up 10 plates for this, I just layer them all up on one plate with a layer of paper towel in between each batch.
Which Mozzarella? There Are So Many!
I like to use a good quality, fresh low-moisture mozzarella and depending on the shape of the cheese, I either chop it up into cubes or slice it into long thin slices. I suppose you could use the bagged, pre shredded stuff, but I highly recommend the fresh stuff for this. It does make a difference.
In order to keep your layers all tight together, each time you add a layer of eggplant, get your hands right in there and press it down. Trust me on this, again, it makes a difference.
If you go ahead and make my version, I do hope you'll come back and let me know. This dish is a labor of love, not in difficulty, but in time. I promise you, it's totally worth it!
Want to try some other eggplant recipes? I've got a few more winners, check them out here:
This classic eggplant parmesan has layers upon layers of super thin sliced eggplant with sauce, basil and cheese. Even non eggplant eaters will fall in love with this classic Italian comfort food dish.
- medium eggplant
- 3 C breadcrumbs seasoned
- 1.5 C flour seasoned with salt and pepper
- 3 eggs
- Vegetable oil as needed, about 1-2 C
- Marinara Sauce 2 large jars
- 16 oz fresh mozzarella cut into slices or cubes
- 1 C parmesan cheese shredded
- 10 basil leaves fresh, cut into ribbons
Set your mandolin to ⅛th of an inch and slice eggplant lengthwise into slices(no need to peel). If you don't have a mandolin, carefully slice with a knife as thin as you can.
Set up breading station in shallow bowls:
Bowl 1: Seasoned flour
Bowl 2 : Eggs, whisk together with 1 T water
Bowl 3: Breadcrumbs.
For each slice of eggplant, dip in flour, then egg and finally breadcrumbs. Set aside.
In a large fry pan, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and heat over medium heat. Fry each slice of coated eggplant until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place fried eggplant on paper towel lined plate or baking sheet to remove excess oil. Continue until all eggplant is cooked, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Preheat oven to 350.
Place 2 ladles of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish (just enough to coat the bottom). Lay the eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, to create your first layer (about six slices), you may need to place some sideways depending on the size of your eggplant slices. Over the eggplant, sprinkle a layer of mozzarella, about 2-3 cubes per eggplant slice. Sprinkle on a layer of basil and parmesan cheese and finally top with another 2 ladles of sauce. Repeat layers, pressing down on each layer of eggplant before adding the toppings. Your top layer should end with mozzarella, basil and parmesan cheese.
Bake uncovered 30 minutes.
Allow to sit at least 15 minutes prior to serving.