Eggplant Parmesan

By • August 31, 2009 • 92 Comments

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Author Notes: This is my Nonna's recipe and most of the ingredients came from her beloved garden. She used to fry the eggplant in egg and flour, but I only use flour and fry them on baking sheets in a hot oven. I always thought the egg batter soaked up too much of the sauce. My version makes it lighter and creamier and you use a lot less oil.Nancy Jo

Food52 Review: All of the cooking here is centered around getting the eggplant and tomatoes to the right texture so that when you fuse them, neither the sauce is watery nor the eggplant soggy. Nancy Jo accomplishes this by baking slabs of flour-dusted eggplant in the oven with just a trace of oil. They come out as stiff as cards. And the tomatoes are cooked down in the pan until pulpy. When the two meet in a baking dish, the eggplant soaks up some tomato juices but retains its own character so you get distinct layers. And Nancy Jo adds the mozzarella as a center layer, so you get the warm melted cheese right in the belly of the dish. Use fresh mozzarella, which is creamy and even a little sweet. - A&MThe Editors

Serves 6

Eggplant

  • 3 pounds eggplant (Choose the large variety. Make sure they are firm and smooth. Also, choose male eggplants. They have fewer seeds and have a rounder, smoother bottom)
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt
  • generous amounts of olive oil
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1/2 pound buffalo-milk mozzarella (if the balls are small, get two)

Sauce

  • 2 28 ounces cans of San Marzano (any brand is fine) canned whole peeled tomatoes (add another can if you want extra sauce left over)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • enough olive oil to cover the pan
  1. Peel the eggplant and slice long ways into 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Sprinkle each layer with salt and place into a colander, overlapping and salting as you go. Each slice should be salted. After you fill the colander, place a plate on top and weight it with a heavy pan or a tea kettle filled with water. Let the eggplant sweat for 30 minutes or more.
  3. While the eggplant sweats, make the sauce.
  4. Cover the bottom of a sauce pan with olive oil and heat over medium high heat. Add the sliced garlic and let it cook until is sizzles (do not brown the garlic). Add the canned whole tomatoes and their juice and salt. Stir and chop coarsely using a potato masher or two knives chopping crossways. Lower the heat and simmer until reduced by almost half.
  5. Remove the eggplant fro the colander and thoroughly pat dry each slice.
  6. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet or two with olive oil.
  7. Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, shaking off any excess. Place on the baking sheets and drizzle the each slice with olive oil. Bake until brown on one side (about 15 minutes or so) and tun over and brown the other side. Repeat until you have cooked all the eggplant.
  8. Using a 7x11 baking dish (I like ceramic or earthenware, but you can use stainless steel as well), spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom and layer the eggplant until it completely covers the bottom (it's like a puzzle!).
  9. Sprinkle generously with the grated parmigiano-reggiano. Add another layer of sauce and then the eggplant. Continue to build the layers until you are about two layers from the top, then add a single layer of sliced mozzarella. Finish with a couple more layers of eggplant, sauce, and parmesan. Finish the top with parmesan.
  10. Bake on the upper third of a 400 degree oven. Check it after it's been in the oven for 20 minutes. You may find that it throws off more liquid as it bakes. If so, press down on the eggplant and draw off any excess liquid. Cook for another 15 minutes or so. Let stand for a good 15 or 20 minutes before serving.
Jump to Comments (92)

Tags: eggplant, parmesan, serves a crowd

Comments (92) Questions (7)

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19 days ago Tbird

OH MY. I'm the "cook" in our family and had to go away for a few days for a business trip. I made this Sunday night to last for a few days while I'm gone. The unfortunate thing about this is I don't think there will be any leftovers for me, as my girls (and a friend) have devoured it.

It was a terrific recipe to make on a Sunday afternoon, as it does take some time to prep, but the results are amazing. My "tweaks": added some dried oregano into the sauce and also layered some fresh spinach into the layers for some added nutrients (and COLOR!)

Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely be making it again!

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about 1 month ago babswool

It is untraditional but I like adding sauted onions to my eggplant. Adds a different texture and flavor to the final dish

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about 1 month ago Adelucchi

This is the BEST AND EASIEST sauce. Thanks for the recipe.

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2 months ago helen

I make eggplant parmesan to this recipe all the time, perhaps once a fortnight. My housemates adore it.

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2 months ago Kip Kiener

I have found an easier way to cook the eggplant. I place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spray it with olive oil or a cooking spray, place the eggplant on the sheet and a light layer of spray on them. Both sides get done evenly and no flipping. I also encrust them with some planko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. If you get lazy you can just eat them like that and blow off the sauce.

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2 months ago karen

do I need to rinse the eggplant after salting it ?

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2 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Read Step 5#. I didn't rinse when I made the dish.

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2 months ago karen

So I finally made this dish and I was worried it would be too salty just patting it off. I'm glad I listened to my first instinct and rinsed it off then patted it dry before dredging in flour. It was plenty salty enough using this method. It turned out well.

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3 months ago Somia

Oh my! Made this for dinner last night using fresh eggplant and tomatoes from the local farm stand. My teen daughter's last words before bedtime to me were "epic dinner - I am dreaming of it already - I want to have dinner all over again even though I am not hungry"! Absolutely delicious and can be made from scratch on a weeknight. Can not recommend it enough!

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3 months ago Jolie

Delicious. Made this and subbed out flour for buckwheat flour to make it gluten free. Everyone loved it. Added a little oregano and basil to the sauce in lieu of salt. What a gorgeous and simple recipe! Thank you.

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3 months ago Tundrah

Wow. This is excellent. Eyeballed myself amounts for a single serving. Made the sauce half from heirlooms and half canned. Skipped seasoning sauce w salt due to others comments. Printing this one out for the recipe book--it's a keeper!

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4 months ago AlainaMK

This recipe is a staple at my house, and one of my (very picky) husband's all-time favorites. He grew up in an Italian neighborhood in Jersey and says this dish rivals that of his best friend's grandmother...I'll take it! Although a bit time-consuming, sweating the eggplant makes all the difference. This recipe is worth every minute, and leftovers (if you have any) are excellent as a sandwich on a French roll.

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7 months ago o.lechow

this was a total hit! never thought of baking the eggplant slices with flour in the oven….totally worked- delicious! Thank you to Nonna!

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8 months ago lpcooks

I had the same problem as others with this being too salty. I think its important to salt the eggplant because it draws out the water so I solved the problem by really under salting the tomato sauce and it came out delicious.

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8 months ago marymary

Tried this today and it's so easy! I just took my first bite and it's awesome, although salty for my taste. I'm cleaning out my fridge today and had to substitute prosciutto panino for the buffalo mozzarella. Very good sub! I will definitely make this again (and again), but won't salt the eggplant. I'll also be serving the crispy, oven-browned eggplant dusted with parmesan as an appetizer / side dish with other dinners. Thanks for sharing!

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8 months ago kimberly.godwin

Cooking the eggplant like that was sooooo good, I may just eat more eggplant and cook it that way as dish all by itself. It gets crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. It really was delicious.

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10 months ago Robin

How would you freeze this so it could be made ahead?

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10 months ago Nancy Jo

I would cook it and let it chill completely then freeze

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about 1 year ago Helens

I adapted this recipe into courgette parmesan this eve, since that's what I had in stock. I added a quartered onion to the tomato sauce, half of which I then chopped up and added to the bottom layer of sauce. I also only did one layer of courgette, since it was onl to serve 2 people, and everyone loves crispy bits. My final layering was sauce+onions, mozz. + parmesan, seasoning, courgette, seasoning, sauce, cheese. It was delicious.

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about 1 year ago Laurenzim

This dish is AMAZING!!!! I can't believe how much flavor it has!!! Thanks!!!!!!

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about 1 year ago mlsparks

I made this over the weekend, and it was simply fabulous. My boyfriend who normally likes "meat" in dishes, said, "Is there meat in this? This is fantastic, it doesn't even need meat!". It will definitely go into my rotation. So amazing.

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about 1 year ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

I made this for the first time two days ago and have heard raves since! It was my first time making eggplant parmesan (not an eggplant fan) and followed the directions exactly, except I used my own sauce. Brilliant!

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about 1 year ago Marisa-Makes

Honestly the best Eggplant Parmesan I've ever made....possibly even eaten. I made a homemade sauce with garden tomatoes and it was wonderful. Make this recipe!