Once Ian and I discovered we both enjoyed eggplant, it became a fun little challenge for me to find other dishes I could make that would include eggplant — including this, one of the dishes I tried as a child… and disliked. With the knowledge that I now enjoy eggplant, and Ian’s love of cheese, eggplant parmigiana was a gimme. Pictured below with garlic-buttered toast, it was a hearty, warming dish for a wintery February evening, and didn’t suffer at all from its lack of meat, a concern I often have about veggie dishes.
- 2 eggplants, sliced
- kosher salt
- 2 c breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3 eggs, beaten
- flour (to coat)
- olive oil
- 2 jars of marinara sauce (or your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce)
- 1 bag of shredded mozzarella (I used the store-brand Italian blend)
Sprinkle the eggplant slices on both sides with salt, lay them on some paper towel, and let them sit for about half an hour to draw out moisture and bitterness. Pat them dry with another paper towel, preheat your oven to 350°F, and get ready to bread them and fry them. Set up an assembly line of three bowls (I like to use pie plates) and heat a skillet on the stove with olive oil. In the first bowl, put some flour. In the second, your eggs. In the third and closest to the skillet, your breadcrumbs, mixed with Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Coat each slice with flour, shaking off any excess, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture, and fry lightly on both sides until golden brown. Place on paper towels to drain excess oil. You will need to add more oil to the pan before you’re done with all the slices… but be careful! Eggplant likes to drink oil, even with the breading! Once they’re all fried, you can pout a thin layer of sauce into a 9×11 baking pan, and place a layer of eggplant in that sauce. Cover with more sauce, and a thin layer of cheese, then another layer of eggplant, sauce, and the rest of the cheese — like a lasagna. If you have any extra eggplant slices, you can try to halve them and wedge them into any gaps in the sides… or just eat them. I won’t judge you. I did a little of both. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is bubbly and starting to brown.