I wish I can be in my gardens every day. I also wish I can see my parents every day.
The recipe I am posting today is the bees knees. It is a total game-changer. Why, you ask? I make this dish on the reg because this version saves so much time and cuts a lot of calories from the typical recipe. I have a strong feeling that you will love this dish.
Every time I make a tray of classic Eggplant Parmesan, it is so labor intensive that when all is said and done, I usually wind up calling my mother or one of my aunts and I say, “As delicious as this meal is, I am not making this again for a LONG time!” They are the ones who originally taught me how to make this recipe, so they can completely relate.
It makes me sad though because I really love eggplant parmesan. That is why I created this recipe: It is not intimating. It reduces a hefty amount of oil. There is no egg, bread, and frying the eggplant. Best of all… It is still so. freaking. delicious. NO FRYING. Music to my ears.
This recipe is vegetarian, but can easily be adapted to becoming vegan by omitting the cheeses and using vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast instead.
There are less than 10 ingredients in this recipe. Sometimes when I am having company, I make a pound of linguine and extra tomato sauce to serve with this entree. Linguine is my favorite with eggplant parm, but any kind of pasta works. When it’s just me and the hubster though, we usually skip the pasta and opt for something like a shaved brussels sprout salad or sautéed mushrooms and kale on the side.
Adapted from Mario Batali: Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Author: Michele Wolfson
Serves: 4 servings
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggplant, about 2 pounds
Salt and pepper
2 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
¾ pound fresh mozzarella, sliced ⅛-inch thick
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
½ cup fresh bread crumbs, lightly toasted under broiler
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Using some extra-virgin olive oil, oil a baking sheet. Slice each eggplant about 1 to 1½ inches thick.Place on the oiled sheet. Bake the eggplant until the slices begin turning deep brown on top, about 15 minutes. Remove the eggplants from the oven. Remove the slices from the baking sheet and place them on a plate to cool.
Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In an 8 by 12-inch brownie pan, spread ¼ cup sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Then, place the largest eggplant slice evenly spaced apart. Over each slice, spread 3 TBS of tomato sauce and sprinkle with a teaspoon of basil. Place one slice of mozzarella over each and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon grated Parmigiano. Place the smaller slices of eggplant over each of the disks and repeat with tomato sauce, basil, and the 2 cheeses. Repeat the layering again until all the ingredients are used.
Sprinkle the toasted bread crumbs over the top of the eggplant dish, and bake uncovered until the cheese is melts and the tops turn light brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Eggplant parm holds a place near and dear to my heart. Some dishes come and go, but this is a meal that has been consistently on my dinner table since I can remember. This dish is usually a mainstay for a vegetarian who eats Italian. A dish with substance that is guaranteed to fill you up–I bet most of you are nodding in agreement. So, a logical place to get a good eggplant parm dish? Ask a vegetarian. After all, it is usually our only option as an entree at most special occasions (besides mushy pasta primavera) and it was also our sole choice on the menu of basically every restaurant in the 1990s.
Tip #1: Making your own sauce is crucial to having the most delicious eggplant parmigiana you’ve ever tasted and don’t worry because it is super easy to make your own marinara. This red sauce recipe that I am providing to you will come in handy more than you can imagine. Need to whip up a really nice meal in a pinch? Spaghetti with this homemade marinara sauce is the answer. Want to throw in some fresh veggies? Go for it! So healthy and so delicious- the two most important things in a meal… but maybe not that order.
Another word to the wise: Choose firm, smooth eggplants. It completely makes a difference in flavor. If you are using Japanese eggplant and making this dish more as an appetizer, you don’t have to salt them right after slicing, just go ahead and dip them right into the egg mixture and proceed accordingly. Some people don’t skin their eggplant, but I prefer to do so for this recipe. The skin sometimes has a bitter flavor and can be a tough texture, which could potentially ruin your whole dish.
It is more of a shallow fry than a deep fry when you place your eggplant in the pan. Make sure that your eggplant sizzles when it reaches the pan and make sure both sides look golden brown. The sound of that sizzle and the smells that come from your kitchen will make your mouth water. I make some extra pieces so I can munch on them while I am cooking and usually there is someone nearby who wants to snag a few pieces as well when they come hot and fresh off of the pan (cough… Matthew Wolfson… cough).
The mixture of parmesan and mozzarella cheeses really puts this dish over the top. If you are feeling ambitious, you can make some extra sauce and throw some linguini into a pot of salted boiling water and add some pasta to go along with your dish. Not always necessary, but delicious none-the-less.
I make a few different variations of eggplant parmigiana, but this one is classic, incredibly tasty, and a total crowd pleaser.
2 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds), peeled and sliced into ½ -inch-thick rounds.
⅔rd cups extra-virgin olive oil
. ¾ pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2. 1 cup grated parmesan
3. Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the onion and cook until soft.
Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Add the canned tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally.
Once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Add the parsley, basil and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer.
For the Eggplant:
Preheat the temperature of the oven up to 375 degrees.
Place the breadcrumbs into a large shallow bowl. Add oregano, red pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. In another medium shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper added.
Season each eggplant slice on both sides with salt and pepper, then dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the bread crumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Heat ½-inch of oil in 2 large straight-sided sauté pans over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 385 degrees.
Working in small batches, fry a few of the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, zucchini, and squash.
Cover the bottom of a 13’’ x 9’’ baking dish with about ⅕ of the tomato sauce. Then, arrange ¼ of the eggplant, zucchini, and squash over the sauce.
Cover the eggplant with fresh mozzarella, grated Parmesan and some of the basil. Repeat to make 4 layers. Top with sauce, fresh mozzarella and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Top with basil leaves.