Eggplant Parmigiana

Eggplant Parmigiana


  

          This is my mothers eggplant parmigiana recipe. It was one of her specialties and she had difficulty keeping up with the production as we would eat them right out of the oil. We had the same problem when we made this at both stores.

  
Ingredients:
  • 2 Medium Eggplant
  • 3 cups marinara (use your favorite sauce)
  • 2 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • Grated parmigiana
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes.

Start by peeling and slicing the eggplant into very thin (1/8 inch) round pieces.  I have always preferred my eggplant as thin as possible even though this takes longer as there are more slices to fry.

Lay out the slices on a sheet pan in one layer, lightly salt the top of the slices and cover with paper towels.  I like to place the next layer right on top of the first, as the weight will help absorb the water from the eggplant (this is known as "sweating the eggplant"). Let the eggplant sweat for about 30 minutes.

 

 
Next, use a deep sided pan or soup pot and place about 3/4 inch of canola oil on medium high heat to 350 degrees. You will need a little room on the sides as the eggplant will displace the oil and it may start to foam up a bit after four or five refills of eggplant.

While the oil is heating, set up the frying station.  In one wide bowl or dish, mix up the eggs until you have a consistent wet station.  The second station is a bowl or dish with the breadcrumbs.
  
 Pat dry the top layer of eggplant and dip into the egg mixture first. Be sure to completely coat the slices and let the excess egg drip off.  Next toss the slices in the breadcrumbs and coat the them thoroughly.  You can set the slices on a plate or another sheet pan until you have enough to fill the oil with one layer of eggplant.

Do not overfill or stack the slices in the oil as they will not fry evenly.  The first batch will cook quickly. You will need to watch them carefully and flip the slices over when the edges get a golden brown.  Let them cook on the other side for a minute or so, remove from the heat and place directly on a plate lined with paper towels. You can layer the cooked eggplant as you did while sweating, just do not leave them on the paper towels after they have all cooled.

 

 

My favorite way to put this dish together is in one layer as you see it served in restaurants.  You can make into a casserole, but I think you lose a little of the "flair" in presentation.

I use a large oven safe baking dish and place one layer of cooked eggplant, slightly overlapping, on the bottom. Next spread some of your favorite marinara sauce over the eggplant, covering all slices.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and parmigiana on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the mozzarella begins to develop a few golden spots on top.
  
Mangia!
Photographs by Alene Pierro


This photo by Jon Feldman
I have added a photo of this dish using shredded mozzarella. A different look, but just as tasty.

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