Step by Step Eggplant Parmesan
Why I Love This Recipe
One of my all time favorite meals is eggplant parmesan and has been for many years. It's one of those dishes though that people either seem to love or find revolting, there does not seem to be a happy medium. After many failed attempts at preparing this in my own kitchen I have deduced that if you are one of these people that do not like eggplant parmesan than it is probably because it has not been prepared quite right. I should know...I mess it up a LOT. Eggplant has always kind of baffled me as have the many, many recipes I have tried for making this dish that have never turned out right. I am very happy to say though that now I believe I have finally screwed it up enough times to get it right. We learn through our mistakes. So at long last here is a recipe that rocks.
Ingredients You'll Need
1 medium sized eggplant
2 cups flour
4 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 28 oz cans tomatoes
1 5.5 oz can tomato paste
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
1. Slice the the eggplant into THIN rounds. Making sure to slice the eggplant thin is key to a good finished product. Thicker cut eggplant comes out spongy and downright nasty..I learned this the hard way. About a quarter inch in thickness is perfection. If you find some of the rounds too large in diameter feel free to half them.
2. Sprinkle the slices with salt and allow to dry for at least half an hour on paper towels.
3. Prepare your sauce. Mix all ingredients together and use a potato masher to gently mash tomatoes into smaller pieces while combining well. Put sauce mixture aside.
4. Prepare your eggplant dipping station. Set 3 bowls up next to the stove. In the bowl furthest from the stove add the flour. In the middle bowl add the eggs. In the bowl closest to the stove add the breadcrumbs seasoned with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 350.
5. Once your eggplant is dry or half an hour has elapsed it is time to get cooking!! On medium heat prepare TWO pans with olive oil. Using two pans drastically cuts down on cooking time, keep your tongs handy!! Don't be shy with the olive oil people. Using a fork dredge eggplant first in the flour, then eggs and then coat thoroughly with breadcrumb mixture before placing into the pan. Cook eggplant a few minutes until brown then turn and brown the other side. You most likely will need to add more oil throughout the cooking time. Do not allow the pan to get dry or your eggplant will have an icky consistency. Place finished eggplant on papertowels to cool while finishing the batch.
6. Layer half of the eggplant in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Top with half of the sauce mixture and half of the cheese. Layer remaining eggplant on top followed by the rest of the sauce and cheese. Bake for 30 minutes.