Happy Mother’s Day to all of you lovely ladies out there!
I spent this weekend with my mom back in Texas. My parents are in the midst of selling their house and moving to Montana, so this weekend could be one of the last times I see them in my childhood home. The trip was bittersweet knowing that, but it was great to see my mom for the first time in nearly six months!
I can attribute almost all of my amazing cooking skills to my mother. I grew up in the kitchen and I fondly remember her cooking new recipes for us to try. Squash patties, oyster dressing, chicken curry, jambalaya—my mom’s recipe library runs the gamut. I think that’s probably where I got my cooking curiosity from, and why I love trying new things. My mom really likes Italian food, and I usually cook Chicken Piccata for her birthday or for Mother’s Day (both fall within two weeks of each other!). This year she wanted to change things up, so she recommended Eggplant Parmigiana.
A few months ago, I dug up this amazing baked eggplant parmigiana recipe. Instead of frying the breaded eggplant slices, you bake them! Don’t worry—they still get crispy. I know the whole “oven fried” concept can be hit or miss, but this recipe truly hits the mark. I almost prefer this recipe to the traditional fried eggplant one!
Salting the eggplant slices for two hours brings out SO MUCH moisture, and it helps the eggplant to not get soggy and bitter. Using fresh mozzarella and basil helps push the parmigiana up to another level of yum, and the tomato sauce is so basic that it doesn’t distract from the real star: the eggplant!Coc
I also made this Coconut Poppy Seed Cake which is quickly becoming my favorite cake recipe…and my mom’s too!
Double Baked Eggplant Parmigiana
- Two medium eggplants, sliced into 1/4″ slices
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups flour
- 2.5 cups Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Black pepper
- 1.5 lbs. fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- First, salt the eggplant slices and lay on baking sheets to milk the moisture out. Let the slices sweat for 2 hours, minimum.
- Rinse eggplant slices and pat dry. In a shallow dish, mix breadcrumbs and 1 cup parmesan cheese together. Put flour in another shallow dish. Beat eggs in a small bowl. Make your eggplant dipping station by setting these three dishes up next to each other and then start dipping: first, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then in the egg mixture, and then the breadcrumbs.
- Lay breaded slices on a lightly greased baking sheet. Continue breading the rest of the eggplant slices this way. Drizzle a little olive oil over the tops of breaded eggplant slices.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake eggplant for about 20 minutes, flipping them over at the halfway point, until they are browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Make the sauce: In a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute garlic until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add can of tomatoes and cut up tomatoes as you stir. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add fresh basil to the sauce during the last 5 minutes. Stir.
- Make the eggplant parmigiana: In a glass 9×13″ baking dish, spread a little bit of the sauce on the bottom of the dish. Add eggplant rounds in a single layer. Add more sauce on top of that, then a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and then sliced mozzarella. Continue layering in that order (I got about three layers out of it), making sure to END with cheese on top.
- Bake eggplant parmesan(uncovered) at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
This is my GO-TO eggplant parmigiana recipe, and I like to think that it is a little bit healthier since the eggplant is baked instead of fried (nevermind the oodles and oodles of cheese). It may look like kind of a pain to make, but it really isn’t. Again, BAKING the eggplant makes things easier instead of frying individual slices! Try this recipe out the next time you get a hankerin’ for some Italian comfort food 🙂