Thanks to my mother’s wise parenting skills, I’m very self sufficient and even somewhat adept in the kitchen despite the fact that I cook rarely. Although my mother’s eggplant parmesan is superior, I’ve been able to replicate a tasty version that I feel proud to call my own so I thought I’d share.
The Prep: When I buy an eggplant I try to select one that is firm (not hard) and has no visible scrapes or bruises. One eggplant will make a tray and serve four people. The first step is to rinse the vegetable then I slice and discard the top and bottom. Make the slices approx 1/4″ thick (or 1 cm). Salt both sides of the eggplant and let it sit for 10 minutes. At this point I usually pour a glass of wine and pull out the other ingredients which include: 1 egg, flour, bread crumbs, grated hard Italian cheese (whatever your preference), salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, shredded mozzarella and tomato sauce.
The Messy Part: After 10 minutes the eggplant will look like it is sweating. With a wet paper towel wipe off the liquid and excess salt. This makes the eggplant softer and less bitter. I dip each eggplant patty into the flour first (wiping any excess flour off), then quickly into the plate with one egg followed by the third plate which is 3parts bread crumbs / 1 part cheese (the grated hard cheese; not the mozzarella) with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning (the seasoning is subjective so use to your liking). Put the breaded eggplant into a skillet with olive oil on high heat and cook for 1-2minutes on each side; then put in your baking tray (add a bit of sauce first and then some over each patty along with shredded mozzarella). When done it should look like the picture below. The Easy Part:Bake your tray of eggplant uncovered for 30minutes (longer if the slices are thicker) at 350 F / 180 C. I use the time to tidy up and put a pot on to boil water so I can make pasta and check up on my red sauce. When you pull the tray of eggplant out of the oven it should look like the photo below (hopefully). Which means your dinner plate can look like this (all in about 45 minutes) and for less than a couple dollars per person.