Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

I have been making this dish for a long time and it is always a favorite. Eggplant Parmesan is a cheesy and  satisfying vegetarian meal, even for the die-hard meat lovers among us.

The recipe has changed over time. I used to dredge the eggplant slices in flour before baking. It was very good that way. My mom used to bread eggplant slices for my father, using bread crumbs. She would serve the eggplant with a little tomato sauce on top and sprinkled with mozzarella cheese. He loved them.

That is what first inspired me to bread the eggplant slices, rather than just using the flour dredge.  I think the breaded eggplant slices stand up well to the other ingredients. They stay a little crunchier than the “flour only” version.

I also used to just use mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan. A friend said she added ricotta, like you would for a lasagna. I tried it and liked the addition of the ricotta. Now I make it that way all the time.

The biggest change might have been how I cook the eggplant before adding them to the rest of the ingredients. I used to pan fry the eggplant. Let me just say that eggplant soak up oil like a sponge. I remember making Eggplant Parmesan for a group of 250 once and went through an enormous amount of oil. Now, I just place the breaded eggplant slices on a baking sheet and drizzle oil all over them, before baking them in the oven. I use a lot less oil that way. It is also a lot simpler than pan frying.

So here is my often revised recipe for Eggplant Parmesan.  In my family, we just call it E.P.

 

 

Eggplant Parmesan

2 large eggplants

salt

flour

1 egg

½ c. half and half or milk

Pepper

1 T. Tuscan seasoning- recipe follows

About 2 c. of bread crumbs

oil

1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese

3 c. tomato sauce or marinara sauce

12 oz. mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese – you could also use Asiago or Romano cheese, if you prefer

 

Peel and slice eggplant about ¾ -inch thick. Place in a bowl and salt lightly. Allow eggplant to stand 30 minutes, then rinse and drain. Combine egg, half and half, pepper to taste, and half of the Tuscan seasoning in bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside. Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish, set aside.  Dredge eggplant slices in flour, dip each slice in egg wash, then dip in bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly.  Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet lightly coated with oil. Once all the slices are in the pan, drizzle with a little more oil. Bake in a 400-degree oven, turning once until browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Place a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices. Combine ricotta with remaining Tuscan seasoning and spread over the eggplant. Top cheese with a little more sauce and another layer of eggplant. Top with mozzarella, remaining eggplant and remaining sauce. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and bake, uncovered in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly and browned around the edges. Serves 6-8.

 

 

Tuscan Seasoning

 

½ c. dried basil

½ c. dried oregano

½ c. dried marjoram

3 T. dried minced onion

2 T. dried minced garlic

2 T. dried rosemary

2 T. dried parsley

1 t. crushed red pepper

 

Combine all. Store in a cool, dry place. Use for any number of recipes, from marinara sauce, to salad dressings.