Chicken Parmesan is one of Ryan's favorite dishes, and it makes regular, if not frequent, appearances at our home. So, I wasn't really sure how he would feel about me branching out and making Eggplant Parmesan instead. I know growing up I was never too thrilled when my mom made Eggplant Parm instead of Chicken Parm, despite her ability to produce either dish equally well (sorry about being a picky eater, Ma!). However, people grow up and so do their palates. Thankfully, this meatless creation was a hit for both me and Ryan.
Eggplant Parmesan is often credited as coming from Naples in the Campagna region. There are also claims that it originated in Calabria or Sicilia, showing that, like many of the dishes that I have cooked, recipes and the culture of food is extremely fluid. Regardless, eggplant is a very typical vegetable in the south, and you will see it pop up again in other recipes in the coming weeks, such as Penne alla Norma and Caponata. This recipe for Eggplant Parmesan is one that I felt out on my own since it is a pretty straightforward dish. Next time I may add a some red pepper flake to give it a little kick!
1-2 eggplants, depending on the size
1 quart marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel the skin off of the eggplant and slice off the top. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Set up a breading station by putting out three shallow dishes or bowls. Put some flour in one, the eggs in another (beat the eggs lightly), and the breadcrumbs in the last one. Bread each piece of eggplant by coating it in the flour, dipping it in the egg, and then coating it in breadcrumbs.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil. Heat the oil over medium heat. In batches, fry the eggplant until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side. As each batch finishes, put the cooked eggplant on a paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
- Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Next, add a layer of eggplant. You may need to overlap a little. Spread 1 cup of sauce over the eggplant. Next, sprinkle with 3/4 of a cup of mozzarella cheese and 1/3 cup of the parmesan cheese. Repeat this process two more times so that you have three layers of eggplant.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Ryan's rating of Eggplant Parmesan - 5.