Eggplant Parmigiana

My Nana Lulu made eggplant parmigiana pretty much every Friday for her family as the course before her homemade pizza. It was the best and I absolutely lived for it. The funniest part was that no matter how many of us were coming, she would make the same amount. So if there were a lot of us it sometimes meant that my dad and I would fight over having the last piece! Ha! He always let me have it of course. It’s heartbreaking to me that she never wrote how she made it down. Whenever I asked her, she just shrugged and held up her hands to say that it was all by feel. So this version is only a shadow of the magic that woman would create, but it was still pretty darn incredible.

The sauce for the eggplant parmigiana came together quickly. I made it easy on myself by pureeing all of the aromatics in my food processor.
The sauce for the eggplant parmigiana came together quickly. I made it easy on myself by pureeing all of the aromatics in my food processor!
That aromatic base simmered for two hours with more crushed tomatoes, wine and seasoning. It was such an amazing sauce for the eggplant parmigiana!
That aromatic base simmered for two hours with crushed tomatoes, wine and seasoning. It was such an amazing sauce for the eggplant parmigiana!
While the sauce simmered, I prepared the eggplant. The first and very important step was to generously salt the eggplant slices and let them sit in my colander in my sink. This drew out some of the moisture and bitterness from it, which was essential. It kept the eggplant parmigiana from getting soggy and too bitter.
While the sauce simmered, I prepared the eggplant. The first and very important step was to generously salt the eggplant slices and let them sit in my colander in my sink for an hour. This drew out some of the moisture and bitterness from it, which was essential. It kept the eggplant parmigiana from getting soggy and too bitter.
Once that was done, I put the eggplant through a standard breading line with seasoned flour first, then an egg mixture, and finally seasoned breadcrumbs to coat them thoroughly.
Once that was done, I put the eggplant through a standard breading line.  I used seasoned flour first, then an egg mixture, and finally seasoned breadcrumbs to coat them thoroughly.
Then it was an exercise in patience as I fried all of the eggplant slices in small batches of 4 or 5. They cooked for about 2-3 minutes on each side to get gorgeously golden and crispy. The patience was worth it because frying the eggplant like that was going to give the eggplant parmigiana amazing texture and flavor!
Then it was an exercise in patience as I fried all of the eggplant slices in small batches of 4 or 5. They cooked for about 2-3 minutes on each side to get gorgeously golden and crispy. The patience was worth it because frying the eggplant like that was going to give the eggplant parmigiana amazing texture and flavor!
The sauce and the eggplant were done at around the same time, which was perfect! Then I could assemble the eggplant parmigiana. I made it similar to a lasagna, with sauce lining the bottom of my pan first. Then I did a layer of eggplant, followed by more sauce and a generous sprinkle of three different cheeses. I just repeated that twice more to get three gorgeous layers. The final touch was a big sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the very top.
The sauce and the eggplant were done at around the same time, which was perfect! Then I assembled the eggplant parmigiana. I made it similar to a lasagna, with sauce lining the bottom of my pan first. Then I did a layer of eggplant, followed by more sauce and a generous sprinkle of three different cheeses. I just repeated that twice more to get three gorgeous layers. The final touch was a big sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the very top.
The eggplant parmigiana baked for 30 minutes to get all melty and glorious. Then it was finally time to eat!
The eggplant parmigiana baked for 30 minutes to get all melty and glorious. Then it was finally time to eat! It took some time and love but oh my goodness was it worth it. The layers melded together so beautifully. The eggplant was so tender without being soggy and the cheese glued it all together. I was so happy and was instantly transported to those Friday dinners at my Nana’s. Hope you all enjoy this Italian classic!
5 from 1 vote
Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 30 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Servings: 8
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
Ingredients
FOR THE SAUCE
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 whole onions quartered
  • 2 whole tomatoes quartered
  • 2 stalks celery quartered
  • 2 whole carrots peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
FOR THE EGGPLANT
  • 2 whole eggplants thinly sliced into rounds
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • canola oil as needed for frying
FOR ASSEMBLY
  • 1 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 pound freshly grated fontina cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil coarsely chopped as needed for garnish on top
Instructions
  1. First, make the sauce. Get out a food processor and combine the garlic, onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and basil in its bowl. Puree it together into a gorgeous sauce base. Then heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Pour in the aromatic base and let it bubble and cook for about 2 minutes. Then add in the tomato paste and let it cook for another minute. Pour in the wine and let it cook off for another minute. Lastly, add in the crushed tomatoes, salt, black pepper and red pepper. Stir the sauce well and let it gently simmer for 2 hours.
  2. While the sauce cooks, prepare the eggplant. Transfer the eggplant slices to a colander in your sink and sprinkle them generously with salt. Let them sit in the colander for an hour to draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. While it is sitting, set up the breading line. Whisk the flour, garlic powder and dried thyme together in a large, shallow bowl. Then crack the eggs into another large bowl and beat them thoroughly with the milk. Get the breadcrumbs into another bowl. Finally, set out a lined sheet tray to hold the breaded eggplant.
  3. When the eggplant is done sitting in the salt, rinse it all with cold water and pat it dry with paper towel. Get a large, deep stainless steel skillet on the stove and fill it with about 2 inches of canola oil. Heat it up over medium high heat and use a deep fry thermometer to make sure the temperature stays around 370 degrees. While the oil heats up (which takes a little while but keep an eye on it), bread the eggplant by dredging each slice through the flour first, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat them well. Pile them on the lined sheet tray after you bread them.
  4. Fry the eggplant in batches of about 4 to 5 slices for 2-3 minutes on each side. They should get gorgeously brown and crispy. When they're done, transfer them to a platter lined with paper towel to drain and keep going until all of the eggplant is fried. It takes a little patience. While the frying is going on combine the mozzarella, fontina, and pecorino romano together in another large bowl and stir it all together well.
  5. The sauce should be done around the same time you are done frying the eggplant. Take it off of the heat and pre-heat the oven to 350. Get out a 9 x 13 lasagna pan and spread 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom. Follow that with a layer of 1/3 of the eggplant, 1/4 of the sauce spread out on the eggplant and 1/3 of the cheese spread out over the sauce. Repeat that again twice to have three gorgeous layers of eggplant, sauce and cheese. Top it all with a sprinkling of the parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake the assembled eggplant parmigiana for 30 minutes to melt the cheese and let everything meld together. Take it out and let it cool for a couple of minutes, then garnish it with lots of chopped fresh basil on top. Cut it into the desired portions and serve immediately! This easily feeds 8 and makes great leftovers.
Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Parmigiana

SaveSave

16 thoughts on “Eggplant Parmigiana”

  1. I had eggplant parmesan for the first time in Sicily 10 years ago and I have been making it ever since, it is so good. I have never breaded the eggplant slices though, it sounds interesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *