Zizi Angie, D’s aunt makes one of the best eggplant parmigiana I’ve ever tasted. When I asked for her recipe, I was stunned to find out that instead of frying, she baked instead of the breaded eggplant. It’s tasty and healthier? It’s a no-brainer that I had to try the recipe for myself.
Of course, like a lot of family recipes in families all over the world, this one was only in her head.
“Take an eggplant, slice it, salt it to drain out some water, throw some flour, egg, bread crumbs, bake on each side until golden, layer with sauce and cheese.”
Um, okay. So, I Googled eggplant parmigiana recipe, looked at the simplest ones, mashed them together with Zizi’s verbal directions and here is the result.
Two thumbs up from Soso, very good from D, and Punk gobbled some up without any complaint. As for my opinion? Not as good as Zizi’s, but I would like to attribute that to the fact that she’s been making this dish for decades whereas this is only my second attempt. This is a very workable recipe and adaptable to taste and availability of ingredients. You can use less or more sauce and cheese. You can skip the fresh basil or the Parmigiana or both. You can leave the peel on. Use jarred or homemade sauce. Whatever works for you!
Here are the baked eggplant pieces. I like to cut mine length wise because frankly, there are less pieces to bread than if I cut them round.
I layered with sauce, eggplant, fresh mozz, fresh basil, grated parmigiano and repeat until all the eggplant slices are used.
Right as it was going in the oven, which explains the dark half of the photo.
Ta-da! Easy yummy eggplant parmigiana enough for two dinners. I served it with some penne with the left-over marinara sauce.
Easy Eggplant Parmigiana
Prep time: upto 1 hour Cook time: 45 mins
2 Italian eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise 1/4 inch slices
1/8 cup water
1 – 1 ½ cups flour
1 – 1 ½ cups seasoned breadcrumbs
2 ½ - 3 cups favorite marinara sauce
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/4 inch rounds
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Place eggplant slices in a large colander in a single layer and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat until all eggplant slices are in the colander. Place a few plates on top to weigh down the eggplant. Place a large or shallow bowl under the colander. Let the eggplant drain of excess water for up to an hour. When ready, rinse the eggplant with water, pat dry an set aside for breading.
While the eggplant is draining, place in 3 separate wide and shallow dishes the egg and water (beaten lightly), the breadcrumbs and the flour. Line 2 cookie sheets with aluminum and drizzle lightly with oil in a zig-zag pattern. In a large working surface, place the bowls in the following order: flour, egg wash, breadcrumbs, cookie sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
Working with one slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shake off excess, dip in egg wash, then breadcrumbs, shake off any excess and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until the sheet is filled. Drizzle eggplant slices lightly with oil. Place the filled cookie sheet in one of the middle racks. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown, flip and bake the other side. Remove from the oven and set aside. Repeat the steps until all the eggplant slices have been baked.
In the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish, spread 1/3 of the marinara sauce. Make a single layer of eggplant slices. Top with 1/3 of mozzarella. Top with 1/3 of basil leaves. Sprinkle 1/3 of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. For the second and third layer, start with eggplant, sauce, mozzarella, basil and top with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake in 350° F for 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.