Eggplant Parmesan is a delicious Italian dish. It is very similar to chicken parmesan, however, uses eggplant instead parmesan.
A while back a reader of our blog and a friend of mine asked me to write about eggplant. She asked specifically for a good eggplant parmesan recipe. She also asked for me to explain how to pick an eggplant and how to use it.
Eggplant is one of those foods that can be a bit intimidating. But once you cook it, it’s pretty easy. I used to contribute to a food co-op and get a basket of produce. I was never sure what I would get in that basket. We would get what was in season. It’s a great way to eat seasonally less expensively. We also were able to explore new foods. We got things we had never heard of or eaten before. Eggplant was one of those that we had never eaten and I had never cooked. So I had to go hunting online how to use an eggplant. Apparently eggplant can be bitter if not prepared properly. But if you know what to do, it is delicious.
Let’s start with picking an eggplant at the store. You want it to be firm with no weird looking or soft spots. You want it to be shiny. I like round and medium length ones. The ones that oval are just fine. It’s just my preference.
To use an eggplant: You may need to peel the eggplant for what you are making with it. For eggplant parmesan, you will need to peel it. I just use a paring knife. I cut off the bottom to give me a flat surface to make peeling easier.
Then slice the eggplant in 1/4″ rounds, and salt each side. You will need to do this no matter how you are cooking them. I place them on my cooling wrack sitting across the sink. This process draws out the bitterness of the eggplant. Allow to stand for 20 minutes.
They will become wet as the salt draws the bitterness out. After 20 minutes, rinse the salt off the eggplant slices. Pat dry.
From here you can make eggplant parmesan, eggplant lasagna, grill them (I leave skin on for grilling). We are making eggplant parmesan.
2 eggplants, peeled, sliced, and salted
1 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, divided
3 cups spaghetti sauce
2 cups mozzarella
2 tsp dried basil
Preheat oven to 400. Grease 2 sheet pans. In a bowl, beat eggs. In another bowl, mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Dip eggplant slices in egg and then in bread crumb mixture to coat. Place on sheet pan. Once all slices have been dredged, bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, flip slices and switch pans on shelves to bake evenly. Bake for 5 more minutes.
Reduce oven temp to 350. In a 9 x 13 pan, pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in pan. Place eggplant slices on bottom to cover.
Pour another cup of spaghetti sauce over slices. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over sauce.
Place another layer of slices over cheese and repeat with sauce and cheese. Sprinkle basil over the cheese.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until cheese is melted and browning. Enjoy
- 2 eggplants
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated, divided
- 3 cups spaghetti sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella
- 2 tsp dried basil
- Peel eggplants. Slice eggplant 1/4 inch thick.
- Sprinkle salt on both sides of slices. Place on a rack over your sink or a sheet pan. Salt will pull out liquid from slices. Allow stand for 20 minutes.
- Rinse and pat dry.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Grease 2 sheet pans and set aside.
- In a bowl, beat eggs and set aside.
- In another bowl, mix bread crumbs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
- Dip eggplant slices in egg and then in bread crumb mixture to coat.
- Place on sheet pan. Once all slices have been dredged, bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven, flip slices and switch pans on shelves to bake evenly. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Reduce oven temp to 350.
- In a 9 x 13 pan, pour 1 cup of spaghetti sauce in pan.
- Place eggplant slices on bottom to cover.
- Pour another cup of spaghetti sauce over slices.
- Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese over sauce.
- Place another layer of slices over cheese and repeat with sauce and cheese.
- Sprinkle basil over the cheese.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until cheese is melted and browning. Enjoy
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To make eggplant lasagna, use peeled eggplant slices. Use the slices in place of the noodles and assemble like you would lasagna. For grilled eggplant, use unpeeled but salted eggplant. Toss in olive oil and season salt. Grill until tender.
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