Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes and while it does require a little TLC to make a truly fabulous version at home I can assure you it is worth it.
The key to a really great Eggplant Parmesan is to draw out as much moisture from the eggplants as possible prior to cooking. This is done by simply sprinkling sliced eggplant with salt and letting them sit for a full hour before you cook. While this does require a bit of planning and time, it is a step that you do not want to skip as doing so would almost definitely result in a soggy eggplant parm which while probably still tasty, is not ideal.
Follow these tips and you will end up with a truly fabulous Eggplant Parmesan complete with crispy golden breading, melty mozzarella cheese and delicious eggplant flavor. Enjoy!
- Casserole Dish
- Wire Cooling Rack
- 2 medium/large eggplants
- salt For sprinkling to draw out moisture.
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- olive oil, as needed about 1/2 cup in total
- 1 24 oz jar of marinara sauce I recommend Rao’s
- 1 8-10 oz ball of Mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced In a pinch you can use shredded cheese but fresh mozzarella is better.
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated Plus more for sprinkling
- 8-10 fresh Basil leaves
- Cut eggplant into about 1/2 inch slices and arrange on paper towels on the counter. Sprinkle both sides generously with salt and allow to set for approximately 1 hour to draw out the moisture. Pat down with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture and set aside.
- In a shallow bowl or inset plate, mix together 1 cup of flour with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup Panko, 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and set aside.
- In another medium bowl whisk together 4 eggs.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a heavy, straight sided skillet heat pour oil to about 1/3rd to 1/2 inch in depth. Heat over medium high heat until oil is shimmering.
- While oil heats, arrange your eggplant slices and bowls in an assembly line starting with the flour mixture, followed by the eggs and then the breadcrumbs.
- Dredge each eggplant slice into the flour, then into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumbs, tapping off any excess. *Note* You can do this before you begin frying and arrange all eggplants on a baking sheet, or do them in batches as you fry. It’s completely up to you.
- Working in small batches, arrange eggplant slices in the hot oil and fry for around 1-2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Once golden brown move the fried eggplant slices to a wire rack while you repeat the process until all of the eggplants have browned. *Note* The wire rack will allow for more even air circulation preventing your eggplant slices from getting soggy.
- Once all of the eggplant slices have been fried, add 1/4th cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of your casserole dish. Then arrange several slices of eggplant until the bottom of the dish is covered (probably around 7-8 slices).
- Top each slice with approximately 1 tbsp of marinara sauce, a thin slice of mozzarella and another slice of eggplant. Repeat the process until all of the eggplants have been used up, topping the final slices with a piece of mozzarella cheese and sprinkling the dish with around 1/4th cup of grated parmesan.
- Bake the eggplant parmesan at 400 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you want to get your cheese extra brown you can broil on high for a minute or 2 at the end, but be sure to watch it closely so it doesn’t burn.
- Remove from the oven and top each eggplant stack with a fresh Basil leaf and another sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (optional).
- Serve piping hot with pasta, spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles or crusty bread. Enjoy!
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