The one year we shared a kitchen together, my friend Deirdre instantly won my heart by making me homemade eggplant parm. A couple years later, I had yet to forget the occasion.
My fridge still stocked with eggplant, and my bowl of eggplant ideas running empty, I asked her to share her recipe with me. After planning to make dinner together, there we were again, months till we graduate from college, still feasting side by side on eggplant parm. So much and so little has changed.
Deirdre started making this eggplant parm. with her dad when she was just a kid. As she got older and ventured to a kitchen of her own, she started playing with the recipe a little, abandoning the classic deep-fried eggplant version for a slightly lighter, oven-broiled variation. Genius. You’d never know the difference unless you were standing in the kitchen watching the whole process go down. Much of the crispiness from deep-frying eggplant gets lost in the layering process anyways, while the broiled version is capable of maintaining that breaded, dense texture of the eggplant needed in this dish.
I still wouldn’t label this “light,” but the broiling process definitely cuts down on some of the grease. Today, Deirdre, her dad, and I will all be using this method from here on out.
It makes a good-sized portion, so share with friends, or freeze for later. Enjoy!
- -3 eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch circles
- -14 oz. mozzarella, shredded
- -3/4 lb. Parmesan, shredded
- -4-5 cups tomato sauce
- -4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
- -3 eggs whisked with 2 Tbsp. water
- -1 1/2 cups flour
- -Extra virgin olive oil
- -20 basil leaves, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Gather 3 shallow bowls. Place flour in one, breadcrumbs in the second, and egg/water in the third.
- Coat two large baking sheets with olive oil.
- In a plastic bag, toss eggplant with flour to coat each side of the slices. Start with half the eggplant, remove from bag, and then add latter half. Dip each slice, one at a time, in egg, then dip in breadcrumbs to coat.
- Lightly rub circles on olive oil-coated pan, and then place oiled-side-up. Very lightly drizzle tops with oil.
- Switch oven to broil, and broil baking sheets, one at a time, for 5 minutes. Flip, and broil another 3-6 minutes, until circles are browned.
- Return oven to 350F.
- In a large baking dish, line bottom with 1 1/2 - 2 cups tomato sauce. Top with a layer of eggplant circles. Spoon another thin layer of sauce on top. Sprinkle mozzarella, about 1/2 cup, and Parmesan, about 2-3 Tbsp., on top. The cheese should cover most of the sauce, but the layer should be fairly thin. Top with half of the chopped basil.
- Continue layering until all of the eggplant is used up, finishing with basil and then cheese on top.
- Bake 40-50 minutes, or until top begins to brown. Serve.