I call this easy eggplant Parmesan because making the sauce is the only really time consuming part in traditional eggplant Parmesan recipes. For this recipe, San Marzano tomatoes straight from the can are used. Certainly on the weekend homemade sauce is in order but for a fairly quick recipe, this really is a winning alternative in my book.
- 1 - 32 ounce can of San Marzano chopped tomatoes, poured into a saucepan of simmered onions and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes to taste. Simmer until ready to use.
- 2 medium to large eggplants, sliced in 1/4 inch rings
- 5 eggs, whisked smooth in dipping bowl
- 1 cup flour, seasoned with pepper in dipping bowl
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs, mixed with a 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan in dipping bowl
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 fresh balls of mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
At this point you really want everything set up and ready to go — cut eggplant, flour, egg wash, and bread crumbs (mixed with parmesan) in a row. It is nice to have tongs and a sheet-pan lined with wax or parchment paper for the finished product. Dip in the order of flour, egg (letting excess drip off), and then bread crumbs until completed.
Heat olive oil in a large pan and begin to fry eggplant, 4 - 5 at a time, careful not to crowd them in the pan. Fry until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side.
If you are making this for a party or for dinner later, I just leave the fried eggplant stacked on the counter as shown above. You could fry your eggplant in the morning for assembly and use later in the day.
When you are ready for assembly, wipe a casserole dish with the olive oil (this will help with the clean up process), and begin layering — starting with a thin layer of sauce, then eggplant, then sauce and then a slice of mozzarella repeating to use up the eggplant and ending with mozzarella on top. Grate fresh parmesan on top as the final step before the oven.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until cheese just starts to brown.
With such an easy sauce and the frying taking minimal time this could be a weeknight meal with prep time taking about 40 minutes and baking time taking an additional 45.
As I mentioned, eggplants are in the height of their season and what a more wonderful comfort food in the summer as eggplant Parmesan? What are some of your uses for eggplant? I'm always looking for fresh ideas and uses.
E.A.T. local E.A.T. well