I never liked eggplant parmesan growing up. My mother would cut thick slices, cover them in bread crumbs, bake them, and then add Hunt’s tomato sauce from a can—and not nearly enough cheese for my taste.
But then I had the courage to try it again at an Italian family reunion. I was stunned that it could be the same relative ingredients yet taste so different. So good! So I tracked down the cousin responsible and got her general description and recreated it. It was good! It’s a little labor intensive, but worth the effort.
This recipe is for four people, with no leftovers. I tend to double it and have leftovers, but then, I always seem to cook too much.
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 large ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded Romano cheese
- 1 large jar of tomato sauce (preferably homemade)
- Slice the eggplant as thinly as you can by hand (a mandolin makes them too thin), place the slices in a colander, add salt, and let them sit for a bit while you get everything else ready.
- Get a large cast-iron pan and begin to heat on the stovetop; cover the bottom in olive oil and some sliced garlic.
- Next to the stove, put the flour in a bowl and the eggs in a separate bowl and stir the eggs.
- Rinse the eggplant and take each slice (yes, EACH one) and cover first in flour and then in egg and put into the pan to fry. Turn over each piece and sprinkle with a bit of Romano cheese (it’s better than salt). Continue until each piece of eggplant has been fried up. NOTE: This is the labor-intensive part, but it’s totally yum and worth it. You can use these pieces for all sorts of other recipes, too, or just eat them as is.
- As the pieces are done, layer them in a casserole dish.
- Halfway through, add half the shredded mozzarella and half the sauce.
- When all the pieces are in the casserole, add the rest of the cheese and sauce; end by sprinkling the cheese on top.
- Bake in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
For family reunions, double, triple, or quadruple this recipe!
Thanks for this recipe Maria! I am looking forward to trying it with the eggplant we got from the CSA this week.
Love eggplant parm. Thanks for the recipe!
Just a little bit different from what I do. I will be trying your recipe this week. We LOVE Eggplant Parm and have lots of eggplant to keep us through most of the winter. Thank you!
I won a copy of the book Tart and Sweet last year at this time. It is a Wonderfully useful book that I will use for many years to come. I did not have time for a garden (gasp!) last year and did not have the opportunity to use it until this summer. Thank you.
We aways intend on making eggplant parm and only get as far as frying the eggplants. They are so darn good cooked up like fried green tomatoes, we never get to the sauce or the cheese! Love me some cast-iron skillet, too. Best kitchen “invention” ever.
Does anyone have a recipe for homemade tomato sauce?
Maria shared this simple and delicious tomato sauce recipe with us a while back:
I use more garlic because we love garlic but you can adapt the basic recipe to meet your needs and taste.
Eggplant is great especially since it has been found of late, to fight a number of cancers. Funny how all these nightshade plants are coming to the light. This wonderful dish can also be made the same way with zucchini, or a combination of both. I use sea salt on each side and I put a plate on top of the eggplant with a heavy weight on top of the plate while it sits in the collender for 1/2 an hour. The salt draws the bitterness out of the eggplant (the secret to good tasting eggplant). If you want to see how much, put a bowl under the collender; it is quite a bit. I do not rinse the eggplant of sea salt with water, since the salt has many healthy minerals and adds to the taste.
I use organic, “free range” hen eggs and another type of flour to avoid the gluten. My Grandmother and Mother use to use Italian style bread crumbs, but now-a-days there is no telling what GMO or other garbage is in it? I would fry in olive oil and garlic the same and add them to the casserole dish that already has organic tomato sauce on the bottom. I add one layer of eggplant, mozzarella slices, (forget the grating) from the ball. Sometimes, I also use ricotta cheese and have even added cottage cheese when I was low on mozzarella and forgot to get some at the store. It all seems to work very well and no one notices the added change. I keep doing the same for each layer. I cook at 350 and may let it sit a little longer than 30 minutes if I start having 3 to 4 layers.
My grandmother came from outside of Naples, Italy and this is the way she use to cook them. As a young man, I would love to watch and learn, and of course.. enjoy the end product. With some red wine as I got older. Buon appetito!
Thanks for the tomato sauce Barbara! I love garlic myself and will add more.
One thing I did not mention in my previous post above, is that after I flour the eggplant, I placed all the pieces on a plate and let the eggplant and flour get to know each other for a bit. Then I place the eggplant into the eggs and then back into the flour and then quickly on to the hot skillet. It’s a bit messy’er this way, but that’s who I am when I am having fun at cooking. The extra flour seems to add to the taste and the eggplant doesn’t seem to mind. No complaints from my guest, or maybe it is the wine that wins the day!? 🙂
I love your tomato sauce from scratch recipe and hopefully Lady Brandwine will find true love with Count Roma someday! M.O.M. scratch recipe is what I have been using (not store bought), since I first discovered it. Though I must admit, I do add a can of tomato paste to the recipe. Hoping each time that there is no BPA or BPS lining the can…wishful thinking I guess?
Do you know the calorie count in each serving?
This recipe is very close. Always flour! And No breadcrumbs! And as the recipe states- the eggplant needs to be sliced very thin!
Now, here is the trick that Southern Italians like me, and Sicilians use-
After the eggplant is sliced, salt it. The salt will leach out any bitterness/acid taste. Wipe the salt off with a paper towel or clean cloth after 30 minutes. But here is the other essential- Once the eggplant is sliced- Stack the slices one on top of the other, then- Put many heavy dinner plates on top, and leave for an hour or two if possible. (You can do this while they are salted)
This compressed them down and once again, takes away any bitterness/acidity. You do all that, and the finished product will taste better than good caviar or prime filet mignon!