This all-star eggplant Paremsan recipe will be your new go-to! Perfect Italian-style casserole with layers of eggplant, Parmesan, fresh mozzarella and basil. Don't miss the one tip that makes all the difference, and be sure to check out the step-by-step tutorial and video below! Even though this is a vegetarian dish, to me, it can stand alone as a main, just add your favorite side salad to go along!
Eggplant Parmesan, or eggplant parmigiana, is one of those classic Italian-style comfort foods most people enjoy. Much like lasagana, this is a casserole dish made of different layers, but here the star is globe eggplant and there is no pasta involved.
Layers of goodness and flavor with such familiar ingredients. Our layers in this eggplant parmesan include: crispy eggplant slices, mozzarella, Paremsan, fresh basil and tomato sauce.
One important first step makes all the difference in this eggplant Parmesan recipe...
One Important Tip for Best Eggplant Parmesan
Globe eggplant can be challenging to work with. It can be bitter and it holds on to moisture. Plus, because of it's somewhat spongy texture ,it can absorb way too much oil when fried or baked. If you're not careful, your eggplant casserole could end up being mushy and unpleasant.
But there is one simple trick that remedies all this, and sadly a lot of eggplant Parmesan recipes skip it: SALT the eggplant slices first before you do anything else. Let them sit for about 30 minutes or so on a large tray lined with paper towel. The salt will draw out the moisture, and the eggplant will also "sweat out" its bitterness. This step also helps to somewhat break eggplant's "spongy" texture.
Word to the wise, don't skip this important step!
Step-by-step for today' s eggplant parmesan recipe
1. Lay eggplant slices on a large baking sheet lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and set aside to let the eggplant "sweat out its bitterness." About 30 minutes or so. Then pat dry. (I know this adds a little time, but this step is so worth it!)
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare two dishes, one with beaten eggs and the other with the flour. Take an eggplant slice and coat in the flour (shake excess flour) then dip it into the beaten egg mixture (let excess drip off). Set on a large tray for now. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (until shimmering but not smoking). Add eggplant and fry for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until nicely golden (work in batches and do not crowd the skillet. You may need to add oil occasionally) Set fried eggplant on paper towels to drain (this is important to remove any excess oil.)
4. Now let's assemble the eggplant Parmesan casserole. In a large casserole or baking dish, spread about ½ cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Add a layer of the fried eggplant on top.
4. b) Add Parmesan, basil and top with fresh mozzarella slices. Continue layering until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce and the cheese on top.
5. Place the casserole dish on top of a sheet pan and bake in heated oven for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and the top layer of mozzarella is nicely melted. Remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes before cutting. Add some fresh basil on top. Enjoy!!!
Can I bake the eggplant instead of frying?
I've had better results with frying the eggplant, but if you prefer to bake them instead, you sure can! Once you've coated the eggplant slices with the flour and egg, arrange them in a single layer on an oiled sheet pan. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F (turn slices over half-way through) until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool a bit before assembling the eggplant parmesan.
Can I freeze cooked eggplant parmesan?
Yes, the beauty about eggplant parmesan is that you can make it in bulk and freeze it either whole or in pieces for later use. Let the casserole cool completely, then cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 night. From there, you can freeze it in it's own dish (make sure it's freezer safe) but make sure it is well covered and protected. Or, you can cut smaller individual portions and wrap them up really well and freeze. Take out as much as you need at a time and heat, covered, in a medium-heated oven.
Cooked eggplant parmesan would keep safe in the freezer, if wrapped well and protected, for 3 months or so. But personally, I would use it up earlier because the quality of the eggplant may be compromised the longer it sits in the freezer.
Watch the Video for How to Make Eggplant Parmesan:
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Classic eggplant Parmesan with layers of globe eggplant, mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. Layers of comfort and flavor, Italian-style! Don't skip the first step of salting the eggplant, and be sure to check out the notes and watch the video and tutorial.
- 2 eggplants, thinly sliced length-wise
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Black pepper
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp oil (I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- 2 cups tomato sauce, no salt added
- 2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (more if needed)
- Large bunch of fresh basil leaves (reserve a few for garnish)
- 8 to 10 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced (more if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Lay eggplant slices on a large baking sheet lined with paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and set aside for 30 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Pat dry. (Optional step. See notes)
- Prepare a dredging station with two somewhat shallow bowls, one for the beaten eggs and the other for flour.
- Coat an eggplant slice in the flour (shake off the excess) then dip it into the egg and let excess drip back into the bowl. Repeat with the remaining slices. Set eggplant on a large tray for now.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Working in batches if necessary, cook the eggplant slices for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely golden. Place fried eggplant on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
- Assemble the eggplant parmesan casserole. Spread a bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish, add a layer of fried eggplant slices, then top with Parmesan, basil, and mozzarella in Season to your taste. Continue layering in this same pattern until all the ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese on the very top.
- Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake in 325 degrees F heated-oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.
- Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes before serving. Add a sprinkle of fresh basil on top. Enjoy!
- Cook's Tip: The first step here is to salt the eggplant and set it aside to let it sweat out its bitterness. This is helpful as the salt will also help the texture, and as the eggplant releases moisture, it will absorb less oil. The end result is far more delicious and you avoid a soggy eggplant Parmesan.
- Cook's Tip: If you prefer to bake the eggplant instead, once it's been coated in flour and egg, you can place the eggplant slices on a large lightly-oiled sheet pan. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes at 425°F (turn slices over half-way through) until they are nicely browned. Remove from oven, and let cool a bit before assembling the eggplant parmesan.
- Can I freeze cooked eggplant parmesan? Yes! I like to cover the casserole well and refrigerate for 1 night. The next day, either freeze it in its own baking dish (make sure it's freezer safe too), covered super well so it's protected. Or, cut the eggplant Parmesan into individual serving sizes and wrap each one in good quality plastic wrap, then freeze them. Take out as much as you need at a time. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat, covered, in a medium-heated oven. While it will keep safe in the freezer for about 3 months or so, best to use it at the earliest chance because so that the quality of the eggplant is not too compromised the longer it sits in the freezer.
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- Category: Entree
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Eggplant parmesan, Eggplant parmigiana, eggplant casserole