I saw a lonely eggplant in my fridge. I’d been avoiding it all week, but last Thursday it just cried out to me, “PLEASE fix me for dinner!” And so it became eggplant day.
If you’re a fan of eggplant (and I realize that some are not), my Eggplant Parmesan is an easy meal that you can prepare early in the day. It’s one of those dishes that tastes even better reheated and makes a great contribution to a covered dish pitch-in. My recipe is based on a version offered in the Southern Living Cookbook from 2001.
Italian Eggplant Parmesan
- 1 medium to large eggplant
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. finely grated Asiago Parmesan (approx)
- ¾ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- Olive Oil
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups pasta or marinara sauce
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
Whisk together 2 large eggs with 2 tbsp. water. Stir together breadcrumbs and the 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese and set aside. Swirl olive oil in a large frying pan and heat at medium – medium high.
Dip eggplant slices in egg mixture and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Brown lightly in olive oil – about 3 minutes each side, but adjust according to your stove top. Drain on rack lined with paper towels. Continue cooking the eggplant in batches taking care not to crowd the slices in the pan, adding oil as necessary. You may want to swab out the pan between batches to remove any breadcrumb/cheese residue as this will burn quickly if you leave in the pan.
Layer eggplant slices in a 9 x 13 (or similar sized) pan, topping with ½ cup shredded mozzarella and a tablespoon of finely grated Asiago Parmesan cheese. Repeat until you have three layers, or until you’ve used up all of the eggplant slices.
Top all with 3 cups of your favorite spaghetti or marinara sauce, either jarred or homemade. If using jarred sauce, I recommend Classico brand.
Bake covered with foil at 375◦ for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining mozzarella cheese and a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan and return to oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving or if prepared earlier in the day, reheat at serving time. It is also delicious cold, especially the next day after it has been in the fridge and has a chance to “set.”
If serving warm, try serving over Angel hair or thin spaghetti.
- A Zyliss grater works best for grating hard cheeses. And if you don’t have a Zyliss grater, you really should get one! If you can’t find it at a local kitchen store, look on line at Amazon or other kitchen supply websites.
- You can make your own breadcrumbs in a mini-blender or food processor, using dry bread, rolls, ciabatta – whatever you like and add your own Italian spices. Living in Florida, I always have fresh herbs in my yard – basil, oregano and parsley in particular. You can dry spices like these if you really want to and use those in your bread crumb creation. I’m all about getting back to basics so for me this works great! But I also get nice spice blends at World Market that work just as well. And you can find them at most grocers too. But just remember to be creative!
Do you have a special way to fix eggplant? If so, please share. I’d love to hear from you!