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Eggplant Parmesan

Classic Italian comfort food ~ layers of crispy fried eggplant, marinara, mozzarella and Parmesan.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword breaded eggplant, eggplant parmesan
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 478kcal
Author Kelly ~ the hungry bluebird

Ingredients

  • 2 large globe eggplants, about 2 pounds
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups marinara sauce, homemade or jarred
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 pound whole milk mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Torn fresh basil leaves, about a cup
  • 1 - 1½ balls fresh mozzarella, sliced

Instructions

  • Slice eggplant into ¼-inch slices. Arrange one layer in a large colander and sprinkle generously and evenly with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds, salting, until all is in the colander. Weigh down with plates and/or heavy cans and let drain for 2 hours (in sink). After eggplant is done draining, rinse well and pat thoroughly dry with both paper towels and cloth kitchen towels. You want the eggplant as dry as possible and moisture blotted out.
  • Prepare three pie pans or shallow bowls for the breading process. Combine flour, salt and pepper in one pan. Crack 5 eggs in another pan, and beat well with 3 tablespoons milk. Season with a little salt and pepper. And in the third pan, combine bread crumbs with thyme and oregano, and a little salt and pepper.
  • Line a sheet pan with wax paper. Start your assembly line ~ dredge slices in flour, shake off excess, then in the beaten egg mixture, and then in the breadcrumbs, coating well. Place coated slices on sheet pan with wax paper between layers.
  • In a large skillet, heat about ¼-inch of oil until shimmering. Fry 3 to 4 eggplant slices at a time, do not crowd pan, until browned, about 2 minutes a side. Remove to paper towel-lined sheet pans and let drain. Sprinkle with a little salt while hot. Continue frying, and adding oil as needed, until all slices are done.
  • Preheat oven to 375º. Spread some sauce into the bottom of a 9" X 13" casserole dish. Place eggplant in an single layer over the bottom. Ladle about a cup of sauce evenly over the eggplant. Top with about ½ the shredded mozzarella, and ⅓ of the Parmesan. Scatter with several leaves of torn basil. Repeat with another layer of eggplant, sauce, cheeses and basil leaves. Top with one more layer of eggplant and gently press down on the layered eggplant. Top with the remaining sauce, the rest of the Parmesan, and then arrange the slices of fresh mozzarella over the top.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until lightly browned and bubbly around the edges. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy

Notes

Do you have to salt the eggplant first for eggplant Parmesan?

A word about salting the eggplant first.  I have read so many opinions on the salt issue with eggplant.  I’ll say this ~ for frying eggplant, I think it matters to salt first.  It changes the texture and bitterness, making it creamier and more luscious.  Almost every recipe I’ve seen for frying eggplant calls for salting it first, and that takes a couple of hours.  No big deal, but adds time.

Nutrition

Calories: 478kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 1525mg | Potassium: 710mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1074IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 536mg | Iron: 4mg