Saturday, March 09, 2024

Fried Egg Plant Parmesan








     Now and then I like to eat my vegetables…. especially when the particular veggie I had in mind is coated in panko and then fried until crisp and delicious.  I could stop there and eat them all, but I prefer my veggie to then be baked in a rich, thick marinara sauce and covered in gooey cheese.  I mean tons of cheese.  I could eat this every day.  I love Egg Plant Parmesan, don’t you?


Fried Egg Plant Parmesan


2 medium eggplants 

Coarse salt

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying 

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

½ cup Italian breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided 

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

1/2 teaspoon (each) salt & black pepper 

Sliced mozzarella cheese (I use a log of whole milk fresh sliced)

2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups of marinara sauce (Ragu Chunky Onion Garlic)

1-2 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons


Remove stem from eggplant and slice into ½ inch slices.  Lay slices on wire rack with baking pan underneath.

























The next step is to sweat the eggplant slices. Arrange the slices on the rack and sprinkle with coarse salt on both sides. Let them sit and "sweat" excess moisture for 30 minutes to an hour. You will see all the moisture come to the surface. Shake off as much salt as possible and then pat firmly with paper towels to dry eggplant thoroughly. Use the paper towels to wipe off salt. 



















Make your breading station.  In one bowl you will have your beaten eggs.  In another bowl you will have your flour and in the last shallow bowl, mix your two breadcrumbs, half of the Parmesan cheese, and all your seasonings. 





















First, coat eggplant in flour on both sides, then dip into eggs, and then dip into breadcrumbs – pack onto eggplant and then gently shake off excess crumbs.  







In a large skillet, add your vegetable oil and heat on medium high until hot. Add in your breaded eggplant in batches and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. 












Lay golden brown eggplant slices on paper towels to soak up excess oil. Repeat until all eggplant has been fried.













Next, in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spread a thin layer of marinara on the bottom. Add your fried slices on top of the sauce. You want them touching and packed in closely. 













Next add the sliced cheese to each slice of eggplant. 














Then add a spoonful of marinara sauce on top. Then sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top.  Add another layer.  This time add a layer of eggplant slices, then a spoonful of marinara and then cover the entire dish with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Add remaining Parmesan cheese all over the top.  














Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until cheese is melted and bubbling around the edges. 

Finally, place under the broiler to brown the cheese.  Keep an eye on it the entire time so it doesn’t burn.  Top with fresh basil cut into ribbons and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!











No need to peel the eggplant if it is not very large and tough.  I like to find soft medium egg plants where the skin is thin and tender and will bake well. The skin is not only edible but full of fiber and nutrition. It also helps to keep the eggplant slices intact and adds great texture to the recipe











Make sure to salt the eggplant to remove the bitter liquid from it. If you can also apply weight to the salted covered eggplant using a baking sheet, the pressure will also help draw out the liquid and help bring a creamy custardy texture to the eggplant.












Prepare a day in advance for convenience. You can assemble the eggplant Parmesan in your dish, and then cover it and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours until you are ready to bake it. This is ideal if you’re serving to guests.













Delicious!  Soft and tender eggplant baked in lots of cheese and wonderful sauce.

Serve with spaghetti and a side salad and don't forget the crusty bread to soak up that sauce!  

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