Nothing says comfort food quite like something baked with tomato sauce, cheese, and breadcrumbs, and no dish embodies it quite like eggplant parmesan. A deliciously layered dish of thinly sliced eggplant, tomato sauce and bubbling hot mozzarella, it’s a dish that will make anyone happy to eat their veggies. Sadly, there is a problem with traditional eggplant parm…
…It’s a pain in the butt to make.
Traditional Eggplant Parmesan requires that you thinly and laboriously slice some eggplant, dip each slice in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, fry it all until it’s brown, AND THEN layer on the sauce and cheese before baking in the oven. People call it a labor of love, but the reason they say that is because you REALLY have to love the dish or the person you’re making it for in order to do it the old fashioned way.
Fortunately, I did some tinkering and figured out how to achieve a similar flavor and texture with a fraction of the work and time. The result is something that looks more like a casserole when sliced, but tastes just like Eggplant Parmesan!
Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium -Easy
Prep time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 60 Minutes
Serves 2 to 4 Depending on Appetites
1 Large Eggplant, stem removed and flesh cut into even medium-small chunks
3 Cups of your favorite Tomato or Meat Sauce – Homemade is ideal but store-bought is fine
2 ½ Cups Grated Mozzarella Cheese
1 Cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs – These are breadcrumbs that have dried cheese and seasonings added to them.
2 Tablespoons of Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Chili flakes - Optional
1 Medium baking dish – you want something with some depth to it
1 Knife and Cutting Board
Measuring Cups and Spoons
1 Box Grater
1 Regular Bowl
1 Frying Pan
Preheat your oven to 350 o F.
Season the eggplant pieces with salt, pepper and chili flakes (if using).
Heat the Olive Oil in your frying pan on medium high heat.
Add the eggplant to your pan and cook, moving it around with your spatula until the eggplant has shrunk in size by about a third.
Carefully add your sauce of choice and stir everything around, continuing to cook for another five minutes so the eggplant has softened a little more and the sauce is heated through and fully combined.
Dump half the eggplant in the baking dish and cover with half the grated mozzarella, half the parmesan cheese, and half the breadcrumbs, in that order.
Turn off the stove and take the pan with the remaining eggplant off the heat, cover it, and set it aside for now.
Pop the baking dish in the oven and walk away for 20 minutes. This will allow the breadcrumbs to brown and crisp a bit.
Take the pan out of the oven and dump in the remaining eggplant.
Cover with the remaining mozzarella, parmesan, and breadcrumbs.
Put the dish back in the oven, set a timer for 40 minutes and walk away.
The result will be something bubbly and delicious!
Let it cool on the counter for 10 minutes so it’s not napalm-hot and serve!
-Samantha R. Gold
Questions? Comments? Requests?
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