The first Eggplant Parmesan recipe, which is the more traditional one, breads and sautés the eggplant before baking. But ,if you prefer not to fry it, then check out the second recipe which instead double bakes the eggplant – NO frying. Both versions are delicious, but this weekend it was the fry and bake method for us. The non-fry method requires heating the oven to over 400° which is not good on HOT days. Both recipes serve 6-8 are go great with a side of pasta or crusty bread and delicious as leftovers too!
Eggplant Parmesan (fry and bake method)
This is an all-time favorite from The Victory Garden Cookbook to which I add an additional cheese , Ricotta mixed with dried parsley, oregano and basil.
- 2 lb eggplant
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½-2 C dried seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ - ¾ C olive oil
- 1 C grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tsp chopped fresh oregano/basil or 1 tsp dried
- ¾ lb sliced Mozzarella cheese
- F&P Optional: 1-1½ C Ricotta cheese mixed with dried herbs
- 3 C tomato sauce (home made or prepared)
- Peel eggplant and slice about ½ inch thick pieces. Salt cover with paper towel, weigh down, and drain for 30 minute. Pat dry. Note: While eggplant is drying, preheat oven to 350°and assemble ingredients.
- Beat eggs with 2 tbsp water or milk (my preference).
- Dip eggplant slices first into the eggs, then into the crumbs. Heat ¼ C of oil in large frying pan and sauté eggplant until golden brown on both sides.
- Drain on brown paper (paper grocery bags work well). Continue cooking eggplant, use more oil as needed (and you will need more).
- Place half eggplant slices in a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of Parmesan cheese, half oregano or bail (or both), spoonfuls of Ricotta cheese (if using) and 1/3 of tomato sauce. Repeat layers. Top with last of Parmesan and Mozzarella cheeses.
- Bake in preheated 350° oven until bubbly. Cool and serve with pasta or bread (our choice).
Eggplant Parmesan (bake and non-fry method)
This recipe is from the Mediterranean Flavors cookbook by Nick Stellino, a former stockbroker turned chef who has hosted several PBS cooking shows. More of his recipes can be found here online. This recipe is unique in that you don’t bread or fry the eggplant and use fresh basil leaves between the layers. But, it’s best not done on a very hot day or early in the day because it uses higher oven temps.
- 1 (1 ½ lb) eggplants, sliced ½ inch thick
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ¼ C tomato sauce
- 20 whole basil leaves
- 1 ½ C shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 C freshly grated Pamigiano-Reggiano cheese
- ½ tsp black pepper
- Early in the day, sprinkle eggplant slices with salt and lay the slices atop one another in large colander. Place a dish on top and weigh down – large can of tomatoes work well. Drain for 20 minutes. Dry eggplant slices with paper towels.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Brush a nonstick baking sheet with olive oil and brush both sides of eggplant slices too. Lay in single layer on prepared sheet and cook for 25 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside until cool.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Spread ¼ C of tomato sauce over bottom of 9x13 glass baking dish. Lay 1/3 of eggplant slices over tomato sauce. Spread ¼ C of tomato sauce over eggplant slices. Place 10 basil leaves over tomato cause, sprinkle with ½ C of mozzarella cheese, ¼ C of Parmgiano-Reggiano cheese and ¼ tsp of black pepper.
- Repeat layers again, starting with eggplant. On final layer, top with remaining eggplant slices, remaining sauce and cheeses. (NOTE: Casserole can be prepared ahead of time to this point, covered and refrigerated. Increase cooking time.)
- Bake casserole uncovered for 30-35 minutes until sides are bubbling and top is golden brown. If casserole was refrigerated before baking, cook 40-45 minutes. Let casserole rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Mangia bene, vivi felice - Eat Well & Live Happy