Eggplant Parmesan

By • August 31, 2009 • 80 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&MA&M

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' 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.

Tags: serves a crowd

Comments (80) Questions (6)

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5 days 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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12 days 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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12 days ago mary

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!

Stringio

26 days 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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3 months ago Robin

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

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3 months ago Nancy Jo

I would cook it and let it chill completely then freeze

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6 months 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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6 months ago Laurenzim

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

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7 months 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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7 months 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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7 months 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!

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7 months ago Jerry Kelleher

Hi. I use eggplant, or aubergines as we call them here in Europe, many dishes. I never bother to salt them -- life too short! I slice them half inch thick and give them a dash of olive oil. I bake the at 400F for about 30 mins, turning once. I pop them in a dish, add some good olive oil and leave them in the fridge until needed. It really speeds up prep time. By the way they form the basis for Robert Carrier's wonderful vegetarian lasagne, a recipe that I would be happy to share. JerryK.

Stringio

8 months ago Natalie Bullion

Oh my gosh. I do not like eggplant, and this is THE BEST THING I've eaten from the garden this summer. Followed the recipe exactly. Yum.

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8 months ago MariahK

Best eggplant parm ever! I don't really like eggplant but I had vegetarian friends coming over for dinner so I gave it a try. I didn't find it too salty and I salted the slices heavily, sweated a half hour or so and pressed them dry on a dish towel. Then I did it all again because I really don't like eggplant and wanted to make sure not a trace of bitterness remained. I ended up with the crispiest eggplant slices out of the oven that I ate a few of them plain and loved them! I didn't salt the sauce and added some dried herbs but otherwise made as directed. The finished dish was wonderful and everyone at dinner thought so too.

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8 months ago The Fiery Epicurean

This was the first year I planted eggplant and I printed off this recipe a few months back knowing that I'd have an obedience of eggplants soon enough. Although this recipe took a while to prepare and bake, it was delicious. I've never made eggplant parmesan where you bake the eggplant prior to assembling the dish, so brilliant! Even my toddler enjoyed this dish, even if I told a little white lie and said it was pasta with cheese! Hey a Mom has to do what she has to do to get vegetables consumed! Thank you for a marvelous recipe!

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8 months ago The Fiery Epicurean

One more thing I forgot to mention. I didn't use can tomatoes, rather had a ton of fresh from the garden, so blanched them and used them instead. Added a little dried herb salt to the sauce too.

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7 months ago AndreaHD

Love the phrase "obedience of eggplants." Sounds like this recipe is designed to make them fall right in line!

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8 months ago Muttersome

I made this and it was amazing. If anyone makes this and has leftovers, do yourselves a favor: boil some spaghetti, chop up a big piece of the leftover eggplant parm into bits, and use it as a rustic, chunky sauce. It is incredible...especially with some cheese melted over it.

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9 months ago sfielding

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes! I've already made it 3 times. :)

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9 months ago Nancy Jo

I'm thrilled that so many of you are enjoying this recipe. I wanted to post an update on the prep. The last 2 times I made it I didn't salt the eggplant! It worked beautifully without the extra step. The high oven temp helps. Nancy Jo

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9 months ago thefood

so seriously delicious!
perfect method, will never make eggplant in a baked dish any other way again!
i love salt, so i can understand why people thought the dish is salty, however instead of just dabbing the eggplant before putting into the oven i really gave them a serious blot session which definitely helped.
bravo on this one!

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over 1 year ago Chris Moore

Correction: using almond flour for regular flour

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over 1 year ago Chris Moore

I made this recipe, using regular flour for almond flour (only substitution)... it was the best eggplant parmesan I've had. So good.