Eggplant Parmigiana is an all time favorite comfort food of mine, and a great vegetarian substitute for chicken parmigian and more filling than a similarly stacked lasagna. The only downfall is that traditionally the eggplant has to be fried in oil before it is layered with delicious sauce and cheese. Not so fast, it can also be baked which is healthier, takes up less “active” cooking time and doesn’t leave your kitchen smelling like a fry house.
Eggplant Parmigiana Ingredients
1 Medium Italian Eggplant
1/2 cup of All Purpose/Whole Wheat flour
1/3 cup of Italian style bread crumbs
1/3 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup of Skim Milk Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmigiana
Salt and pepper to taste
Set the oven to 350 degrees
Serves 6, or 4 very hungry eaters!
I cut the eggplant into coins about 1/4 of an inch thick and give them a light sprinkle of kosher salt. Eggplant is full of water and the light sprinkle of salt helps them to release a bit of the moisture and and brings out the flavor.
At your work station set up a small bowl with two eggs, beaten, and a shallow dish with with the mixture of bread crumbs, grated cheese and few cracked of fresh ground pepper.
Dip each coin of eggplant into the egg and then into the bread crumbs coating each slice on both sides.
With all of the prepared eggplant slice on a parchment covered baking sheet; bake in the 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After baking the eggplant will be softened, the edges browned and the bread crumbs crisp and golden.
While the eggplant is baking in a small bowl mix the ricotta cheese, some pepper, parsley, and Italian seasoning. Now here is where the fun happens. Grab a baking dish and your favorite sauce – if it came out of a jar, it’s no big deal, I’m not telling anyone. Spoon a thin layer of sauce on the base of the dish, add your first layer eggplant coins, another layer of sauce, and thin layer of ricotta cheese. Repeat until you run out of eggplant.
On the top layer of eggplant add another layer of sauce, one more round of ricotta and some grated parmigiana.
Look at those layers! Where is the fork?
If you are preparing this on a Sunday for a Monday night dinner you can wrap this is tin-foil and keep in the refrigerator for a day. If you’re looking for a more instant satisfaction this can bake in the oven at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on the top and the sauce is looking a little bubbly.
When you’re ready to serve I like to portion out the stacks and serve with a fresh salad. As they say in Italy, Buon Appetito!