I do this thing where I go to the farmer’s market, buy the most perfect, tender organic eggplant, and then they go bad and end up in my compost bin before I get to use them. Well, not this time, my friends. Oh no. I present to you the whole reason I buy these babies: Eggplant Parmesan Casserole.
I’m almost ashamed to show how easy this is. Seriously, it’s a piece of pie (pumpkin, of course)! And one of the greatest things about this recipe is you can make it with just about any amount of eggplant, sauce, or cheese you have on hand. It’s very forgiving.
Regardless, there are some ingredients you’ll need:
- Fresh, firm organic eggplants (I used white, but you could go with any you like)
- Bread crumbs (seasoned with granulated garlic, salt, and pepper)
- 1 egg, beaten
- All-purpose flour
- Your favorite organic tomato sauce (marinara, pomodoro, or whatever you like)
- Mozzarella or provolone cheese
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese
First things first, get your breading station ready. In three different bowls, put the beaten egg, about a cup of flour, and a cup of seasoned bread crumbs.
Preheat your oil to 375 degrees in a heavy skillet or pot. Fill the vessel just a couple of inches; it’ll be more than enough.
Next, slice your eggplant in nice, even slices. I used six small eggplants for this because my boyfriend is crazy and doesn’t like eggplant. It’s an offense punishable by breaking up. (Kidding…or am I?)
Some people like to salt them and let them drain for few minutes to draw out the bitterness, but the white ones are so sweet. I honestly don’t even do this with the purple ones. I just skip it altogether. They’ll start browning a smidge, but it’s OK; they’ll be fine. The taste isn’t affected whatsoever.
To fry the eggplant, dredge first in flour (shake off excess), next dip in the egg, and coat in bread crumbs. This is sort of messy, I admit, but it’s well worth it. One by one, place in the oil. Do this in small batches as to not bring down the temperature of the oil by overcrowding. You want things to get nicely browned and crispy. And, for the love of all that’s good, don’t put the eggplant on paper towels to drain. Use a wire cooling rack to allow the oil to drip down. Paper towels only make things soggy. That’s not good eats. (Alton Brown’s so smart.)
Then, in your favorite casserole dish, start layering. Think lasagna. I place a layer of fried and drained eggplant, some sauce (by the way, here is the link for my favorite sauce recipe), some grated parmesan, some shredded mozzarella, and repeat until you’re all out of ingredients. Make sure, though, whatever you do to top with sauce and cheese. Because, let’s face it, that bubbly layer of cheese is why you’re all here.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is all brown, bubbly, and perfect.
Let cool for a few minutes (resist the urge to pick all the cheese off the top), slice, and eat. Finally, thank God for creating the eggplant.
Happy eating, everyone!
Oh, by the way, sorry about not having a final photo. Melted cheese is my siren song, and I forgot. I’m so weak.