This is one of our favorite eggplant dishes, and it can stand on its own as a main dish. Layers of breaded and fried eggplant rounds are fried and then layered with an herbed tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Serve this eggplant Parmesan with garlic bread or crusty Italian bread.
- 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups fine, dry bread crumbs mixed with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- extra virgin olive oil to heat 1/8 inch in a heavy skillet
- 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
- 16 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4). Grease a 12-by-8-by-2-inch baking dish.
- Put the beaten eggs in a wide, shallow bowl.
- Put the seasoned bread crumb mixture in another wide, shallow bowl.
- Wash eggplant and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Dip the eggplant slices in beaten eggs then dredge with seasoned bread crumbs.
- Place the breaded slices on a plate and chill for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a heavy skillet.
- Fry the breaded eggplant on both sides until golden brown and crispy. Drain well on paper towels.
- In a saucepan, heat tomato sauce, basil, and oregano.
- Spread about one-third of the sauce in the prepared baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant, half of the mozzarella cheese slices, another one-third of the sauce, and half the Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the remaining sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Tips and Variations
- Layer fresh sliced tomatoes in the casserole with the fried eggplant slices.
- Make the eggplant Parmesan with smoked mozzarella cheese.
- Replace the tomato sauce with prepared pasta sauce and omit the basil and oregano.
- Replace the tomato sauce with crushed tomatoes.
- Use garlic, Parmesan, or Italian seasoned bread crumbs in place of plain unseasoned crumbs.
- Replace the dried basil with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil.
- Skip the breading; brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and bake in a preheated 450 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through baking to brown both sides. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and assemble the casserole. Bake as directed.
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