Eggplant Parmesan

1 large eggplant
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. dried bread crumbs
¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 eggs
4 Tbsp. Basil Olive Oil, divided
1 c. grated mozzarella cheese, divided
½ c. ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 c. Pomodoro Sauce

Line a baking tray with paper towels. Slice the eggplant into ½” thick rounds and place them on the paper towels. Sprinkle each cut side of eggplant with the sea salt, cover with fresh paper towels, and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. This will allow any excess water to drain from the eggplant. Place the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow bowl and mix to combine. Place the eggs and 2 tbsp Basil Olive Oil in a similar bowl and thoroughly whisk to fully combine.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9x13” baking dish with the remaining Basil Olive Oil.

Take a piece of the eggplant and pat it as dry as possible with more paper towels. Use one hand to dunk it in the egg mixture and then use the other to submerge it in the bread crumb mixture, patting the bread crumbs to completely coat it. Gently place the breaded eggplant slice in the prepared baking pan. Repeat with all the eggplant slices, evenly distributing them in the baking pan and being careful not to overcrowd it. (You might need to bake it in batches). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Meanwhile, mix together ¾ cup of the mozzarella with the ricotta, parsley and basil in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Keep the oven at 350F. Lightly grease a 9x9” baking pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Spoon about ¼ cup of Pomodoro Sauce into the baking pan and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Make an even layer of eggplant slices over the sauce. Dot each slice with about 1 tsp of the mozzarella mixture and top with half of the remaining sauce and another layer of eggplant, topping the eggplant slices with mozzarella. Repeat the layers twice so you have three layers of everything. Top the dish with the reserved ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and all the layers are heated through.

Serve immediately with a side of pasta tossed in Parmesan Cheese.

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