I love Eggplant Parmesan. I don’t eat it very much anymore because, at the moment, I am the only one in the house that likes it. My eldest daughter and her husband love it so I don’t make it unless they are going to be around to help eat it.
Eggplant is pretty easy to grow, at least here in Texas. If you have a garden I recommend adding an eggplant (is that eggplant plant? eggplant bush?). The flavor when it is fresh is delicate and addictive – not a bit bitter.
I think the first time I had eggplant was when I was a teenager. If you lived in the Dallas area in the 70s you will understand my next phrase. Wyatt’s Cafeteria Eggplant Casserole.” This was mashed eggplant, sort of a souffle, with breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese. I was hooked with one bite. See, my dad liked to eat at interesting, unique restaurants but my mom like eating at Wyatt’s. People wonder why my tastes are so wildly different. HA! I was raised that way.
I actually have a recipe for that. I need to look for it… it may even be on here way down in the cobwebby places where those first, horrible, embarrassing posts that I ever wrote are kept.
Anyway, on to Eggplant Parmesan. It is so good, at least when I make it. I bread the eggplat and pan fry it until it is crispy and then I layer it with Mozzarella and smoked Provelone in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake it until the eggplant is custardy and tender and who in the world needs meat with that?
The secret to good eggplant is twofold. First you need to salt it down and let is stand for about three hours. The you need to really rinse it well. That takes out the bitterness. Next, no matter what recipe you are using – cook it until it is done! Half cooked eggplant is rubbery and nasty – no wonder people dislike this maligned vegetable. Cook it until it feels like custard when you put a knife through it. There should be no resistance.
I like to serve Eggplant Parmesan with spaghetti and a salad, garlic bread on the side. It is one of my favorite meals anytime of the year.
- 1 box of Panko Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped , fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chilie powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- 5 eggs
- 1 to 2 large eggplants , cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (cut them a little thinner if you aren’t good with estimating)
- About 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce – I like Newman’s Own Sockarooni the best unless I am using homemade.
- 8 slices of mozzarella (maybe 1/4 pound?)
- 8 slices smoked provolone
- Olive oil for frying
Slice the eggplant and cover liberally with salt. Let stand for at least 3 hours.
Rinse thoroughly and dry off before continuing or the breading won’t stick.
Spread the breadcrumbs out of a large cookie sheet. You’ll need a second large sheet to hold the cooked eggplant.
Mix the flour and herbs, salt and pepper on a large plate or baking pan.
Beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl until well blended
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Oil a 13 x 9 inch pan.
Dredge an eggplant slice in the seasoned flour.
Dip it in the egg and then into the crumbs, coating well. Set aside.
Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. You will need 12 – 16 slices.
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
When oil is hot add breaded eggplant and fry until golden brown, turning once.
Drain on a paper towel.
Cover the bottom of the 13 x 9 inch pan with about 2 tablespoons of sauce.
Add enough breaded eggplant slices to cover the bottom of the pan.
Cover the slices with some of the sauce.
Cover the eggplant and sauce with the provolone.
Add another layer of eggplant, cover with sauce.
Bake at 350F for one hour.
Just before it’s done add the mozzarella to the top.
Remove from oven and let stand five minutes before serving.
Be sure to salt the eggplant. It removes bitterness and it is an important step. Rinse well!
1 box of Panko breadcrumbs 1.53
2 cups flour .24
2 tablespoons finely chopped, fresh parsley .05
1 teaspoon dried oregano .05
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil .05
1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika .05
1/2 teaspoon of ancho chilie powder .05
1 teaspoon of salt .05
1/2 teaspoon of pepper .05
5 eggs 1.20
1 to 2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (cut them a little thinner if you aren’t good with estimating) 1.99 each (I am using 1 eggplant in this breakdown)
About 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce – I like Newman’s Own Sockarooni the best unless I am using homemade. 2.69
8 slices of mozzarella (maybe 1/4 pound?) .37
8 slices smoked Provelone .37
The cost for the entire recipe, which feeds 8 to 10 is a grand total of $8.74
Per serving cost based on 8 servings is $1.09