Or, the story of how Tyler and I made dinner in one hour AND destroyed the kitchen and then ate eggplant parmesan for days!
Eggplant parmesan is a great budget dinner dish, and it's pretty easy to make once you get a system going! It's easier and just as filling as lasagna, too. This is my preferred way of making it, but there are lots of other ways! Check out randofo's version of eggplant parmesan if mine isn't to your liking. :D
Step 1: Ingredients:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- oil for frying
- cheese for topping - we used parmesan and fresh mozzarella
- 1 carrot, chopped finely
- 1/2 onion, chopped finely
- a few cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 28 oz tin of crushed tomatoes
- oregano, basil, italian seasoning, red pepper, salt & pepper, pinch of dill
- red wine vinegar
I followed that but added many more herbs and the carrots to make it a little more chunky and marinara-y. :D You can also use the ready made stuff if you'd like to speed up the process!
Step 2: Start the Sauce
If you're making your own sauce, start it first!
I cut up a carrot and half an onion along with some garlic, and sauteed those in olive oil until nice and soft. Then I threw in some red pepper, Italian seasoning, and a teeny tiny pinch of dried dill and let that cook until really fragrant. Then I added the can of crushed tomatoes, turned down the heat, and let it simmer while I did everything else. :)
Right before you're ready to assemble the eggplant parmesan for baking, turn off the heat and add a little red vine vinegar and stir.
If you're using the stuff out of a jar, disregard everything I just told you.
Step 3: Cut the Eggplant and Make the Breading
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices. I don't do anything else to the eggplant - no salting, no pressing, nothing. It always turns out well anyway. :)
Now combine the breadcrumbs and flour and season liberally. Add garlic and onion powders, lots of herbs, salt and pepper. You should be able to lick your finger, stick it into the breading, and then taste it and really enjoy it. If you can taste the seasonings, add more!
Step 4: Beat the Eggs and Get Some Oil on the Stove
Heat up some canola or veggie oil in a frying pan (1-2 inches deep) on the stove over medium heat.
Then, beat the eggs very well. You want them to be a light yellow color. :)
Step 5: Bread the Eggplant
Dip the eggplant into the eggs and coat it well on both sides.
Then coat it liberally with the breading, shaking off the excess. You can either put the breaded slices on a plate to rest, or throw them in the oil as you bread them. We chose to fry as we went.
Step 6: Fry the Eggplant
When the oil is nice and hot, you can start frying!
The eggplant doesn't take very long, only a couple minutes per side. Fry until nice and golden brown, or as dark as you like it. We went a little further with ours - I think they taste awesome when the breading has gone a darker brown. :D
As they finish frying, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb some of the excess oil.
Step 7: Preheat the Oven + Assemble
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Grab whatever baking dishes you'd like to use, and add a spoonful of tomato sauce to the bottoms and spread it out. You want a nice thin layer.
Then add in the eggplant slices, make sure not to overlap them! Spoon more sauce over the top, I like a nice spoonful on each.
Now you'll add the cheese - I added just a little bit of parmesan, and Tyler went nuts. He used huge amounts of both fresh mozzarella and parmesan.
Once everything is nice and saucy and cheesy, pop the dishes in the oven for 15-20 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This will also help cook the eggplant the rest of the way in case frying didn't finish them off.
Step 8: Enjoy!
I like to serve it with extra sauce and a little bread if I've got it.
It also stores and reheats well, and will often taste even better the next day. :D