This is a family recipe I've seen my Mom and Grandma prepare countless times. It's a Romanian and Moldovan dish that Mom simply called "Baklazhani". It's a cross between eggplant parmesan and a lasagna dish, but without the pasta and without the cheese, so it's perfect for vegans and vegetarians. Cooking the eggplant in the tomato broth for a long time results in eggplant that still stays firm like a patty, but is silk tender in your mouth. Since introducing this recipe to my Mom-in-Law, she now makes it pretty frequently for my eggplant loving Dad-in-Law. —NakedBeet
Slice the eggplant thinly into 1/4? rounds. Cutting them at no thicker than this ensures they’ll cook through in the sauce. Set up a bowl with flour and season it with a dash of salt and pepper. Set up another bowl with eggs, seasoning it with salt and pepper, as well. Dredge each eggplant slice first in the flour, shaking off any excess, then the egg. Lightly fry the eggplant on both sides until golden brown. Reserve the fried slices on a plate while you work on the next step.
In a large bowl, mix the tomato sauce with all the herbs, salt, vinegar if you’re adding it, and water.
In a cast iron wide pot, saute the garlic, onions and carrots until the onions are slightly translucent. Ladle some of the tomato sauce over the onion mixture. (The onion layer prevents the eggplants from sticking or burning to the pan, while flavoring the sauce, too.) Start layering the eggplant slices in the pot, pouring a bit of tomato sauce between each eggplant layer. At the very end, pour enough sauce to just cover the eggplants. Depending on how big of a pot you’re using or how many slices you get if your sauce doesn’t cover the eggplants a bit, it’s ok to press down the eggplants slightly below the sauce line or add a mix of tomato paste, water and salt to just cover the eggplants. (I love having a tube of tomato paste on hand for just these kinds of emergencies!)
Over a very low flame, cover the pot and cook for 40-45 minutes. Check on the liquid every so often, adding more of the sauce so the eggplants stay submerged in the sauce. Once you remove the eggplants from your pot, the sauce can be whizzed up smooth or served as a textured sauce along with the slices.
Serve about 3-4 slices per person with a dollop of sour cream and fresh chopped parsley.
Note: You can substitute the strained tomatoes for regular tomato sauce, but you'll have to remove or adjust the vinegar and salt to your taste.