This Italian dish is probably the most familiar eggplant recipe to Americans, but it’s still a classic that deserves it’s place at the table! Eggplant parmigiana is a great way to use the large globe like Italian eggplants that come in your CSA share. The eggplant is typically deep-fried, but I came across this oven-baked version that works perfectly. If you prefer a thicker, fried breading, just swap eggplant for summer squash in this recipe.
Start by sweating the eggplant. It’s an important step in preparing eggplant that draws out moisture and bitterness. Learn more about why we salt eggplant in our video “How to Use Eggplant”
The oven frying is really genius, and easy to pull off. Take your time baking them, make sure they’re crisp and browned before layering them in the pan with marinara, parmesan, and fresh mozzarella. For the marinara we used our Simple Marinara recipe, and really simmer until it’s a thick spreadable sauce. You want all the moisture cooked out of both the eggplant and the sauce for the best results.
1 large or 2 medium sized Italian eggplants
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup flour
1 cup freshly grated parmigiana
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
lots of olive oil
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Place in a colander and generously sprinkle with salt. There should be salt on both sides of each slice. Let sit for 30 minutes (put a plate under the colander or place in the sink). After 30 minutes, rinse the eggplant and pat dry. The eggplant should still be a little moist for the flour to stick to it, but not dripping wet.
Preheat the oven to 450°F
Generously oil 2 baking sheets with olive oil.
Place the flour on a plate, and dredge the eggplant slices in it. Coat both sides with flour. Place the eggplant slices on the oiled sheets, then drizzle olive oil over the top of each slice.
Bake the eggplant 10 – 15 minutes per side, until the slices are stiff and browned.
Assemble the parmigiana. Cover the bottom of baking dish with a layer of sauce, then eggplant. Top the eggplant with sauce, then Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining eggplant. Top the final layer with sauce, then the slices of mozzarella, and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Reduce the oven to 400°F
Bake at 400°F for 20 – 30 minutes until cheese is brown and the casserole is bubbling. Let cool 10 – 15 minutes before slicing.