My paternal Grandmother was born in Sicily, Italy. She came over to America as a very young girl and lives in New Jersey currently. She is 89 years old, and she still has a fully stocked kitchen and is constantly ready to feed an army with her amazing Italian cooking. I have asked her a million times for her recipes, but she doesn’t cook from recipes as we know them. Nothing is written down, and nothing has units of measure! I was lucky enough to help her make eggplant parmesan, and watch my dad remake her eggplant parmesan, several times. I have tried to recreate her amazing dish to the best of my ability here in proper recipe form. Just a quick note: the amounts of the ingredients are more of a suggested range as the precise amount will vary on how big your eggplant is!
Prep time: 30-40 minutes
Cook time: 20 to 30 minutes
1 eggplant (or aubergine if you live in the UK!)
¼ to ½ cups flour
1 container Panko bread crumbs
1 jar tomato sauce
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan/romano cheese
1. Slice your eggplant into thin circles, as even as you possibly can.
2. Lightly salt your eggplant slices and set aside for about 20 minutes. This draws out the moisture. Don’t use too much, you will end up with a very salty final product!
3. While waiting for the eggplant, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prep three dipping bowls: one with flour, one with eggs, and one with bread crumbs. 5. 5. The eggs should be lightly beaten, as if you were making scrambled eggs.
6. When the eggplant is ready, dip your slices first in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs until they are all fully and evenly coated.
7. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan. Fry up the dipped eggplant slices until they are golden brown on both sides.
8. In an oven safe dish of pretty much any shape or size (mine was round this time, but I’ve also used 13×9 and 8×8,) add a layer of sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Add a layer of eggplant covering the whole dish.
9. Cover the eggplant layer with shredded mozzarella cheese. I also added some fresh mozzarella.
10. Add basil leaves to taste.
11. Cover with sauce and repeat with a layer of eggplant, cheese (both shredded and fresh mozzarella, and basil. On your final layer (mine was only two, yours could be more!) top with parmesan/romano cheese.
12. Once your eggplant parmesan is assembled, bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes,
13. Once the cheese is melted, allow to cool, serve, and ENJOY!
Instead of frying the eggplant, for a healthier option you can bake the dipped slices in the oven.
What is your favorite family recipe?