How To Make Classic Eggplant Parmesan
- 2 large eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup dry, fine breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 8 ounces), divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cups tomato sauce, divided
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 12 ounces), divided
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Paper towels
- 3 small bowls for dredging
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wire cooling rack
- Baking sheet
- 8×8-inch baking dish
- Large straight-sided skillet
- Slice and salt eggplant: Trim the stems from the eggplants and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. This should yield 16 to 18 slices. Lay the rounds out on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides with the salt. Let the rounds sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, set up the dredging station.
- Set up a dredging station: Combine the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Place the flour in a second small bowl. Whisk the eggs in a third small bowl. Arrange the bowls assembly-line style in this order: flour, egg, breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat the oven: Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F.
- Bread the eggplant: Rinse the salt from the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Dip each eggplant slice completely in the flour, followed by the egg, and finally the breadcrumb mixture. Place the breaded slices back on the rack.
- Fry the eggplant: Heat the oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry the slices 4 at a time (to avoid crowding the pan) until golden-brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place each batch of cooked eggplant back on the rack.
- Layer the casserole: Pour 1/2 cup of the sauce into an 8×8-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Place 1/3 of the eggplant slices in an even layer on top of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the mozzarella. Top with 1 cup of the sauce in an even layer. Repeat these layers two more times with the remaining eggplant, mozzarella, and sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan.
- Bake: Bake until the eggplant is tender and the cheese is melted and bubbly about 35 minutes.
Sauteed Romaine Lettuce
Note: my romaine lettuce was not usable for this recipe so I quickly came up with plan B to add a side of steamed corn. However, I still wanted to keep this part of the meal as I plan to make it in the future!
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
- 1 small celery stalk, chopped
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-wide strips (about 10 cups)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, celery, and red-pepper flakes; saute until celery is softened and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add lettuce, pressing it down to fit. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook, tossing occasionally, until lettuce is completely wilted and liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.
The Italian bread can be bakery bought, store-bought, frozen, homemade, etc. It can also be buttered or toasted with garlic butter and cheese to elevate it even further. However, I would highly recommend not skipping out on the Italian bread as a side to the eggplant parmesan because it is a perfect combination of flavor and texture profiles. Besides, you need something to dip in that incredible marinara sauce, right!
Here is a recipe for garlic bread to help guide you!
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 1 (8 ounces) package shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and mix with garlic powder and dried parsley.
- Place Italian bread on a medium baking sheet. Using a basting brush, brush generously with the butter mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven approximately 10 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and any remaining butter mixture. Return to the oven approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bread is lightly browned.