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.
Large bunch of fresh basil leaves,reserve a few for garnish
8 to 10ozfresh 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!
Tip- Salt Your Eggplant: 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.
To bake the eggplant instead of frying: 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.