Eggplant Parmigiana

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Submitted by Mack the Knife

I love eggplant. I recently posted a recipe for Chicken & Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce. Recently I was given some fresh garden eggplants (aubergines) from my great-uncle, so I was determined to make this. I also had a mason jar of crushed tomatoes from the same garden, so I made use of fresh grown ingredients for most of this. I am truly blessed. This is a time-consuming recipe but the results are worth it- The breaded eggplant infused with oil and tomato sauce, stacked with melted parmesan, topped with molten mozzarella... it's a caloric atrocity but other an orgasm of epicurean delight.

Prep time- 1 hour or more! Cook time- 1 hour


Preheat oven to 350 Degrees


  • 2 medium-large eggplants
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 8oz unseasoned breadcrumbs, or half&half with panko
  • 1 16oz can chicken broth
  • 2 eggs
  • grated parmesano reggiano cheese - 1/4lb? or 1/4 chunk
  • 8oz mozzarella cheese; part skim or whole, or fresh/bufala if desired
  • fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • canola oil



  • 4qt pot for tomato sauce
  • cast-iron pan for frying eggplant slices
  • pyrex baking dish, or 2-inch deep baking pan of some sort. Mine was about 12"x12".
  • WOODEN SPOON required for making tomato sauce, as defined by the Pope

Making Marinara Sauce

  • You begin by making marinara sauce. You CAN use canned, but this always tastes better. Your best bet is to make a lot of extra sauce the next time you make pasta, and save it- it will keep a few days, or you can freeze it. Or run tomatoes through a mill until you have 28oz. I happen to have a mason jar of milled tomatoes steeping with some fresh basil. Yay for me.
  • To make the sauce, minced your garlic cloves, and then soften them in olive oil over medium heat in a 4qt pot. Add salt & pepper to taste.


  • Once the garlic begins to brown, add your crushed tomatoes and lower the heat to a simmer. Add your chicken broth, some fresh basil if desired, and simmer this for an hour. Set a timer.


Preparing the Eggplants

  • While it is simmering, wash and trim your eggplant. Slice them into 1/4" thick rounds. They can be thinner, but consistancy will make the frying easier.


  • Once they are sliced, place them in a colander in layers. Salt each layer lightly. When done, top it with a paper towel and place a heavy weight on it. A big can of olive oil will suffice. This will press the bitter juices out of the eggplant, according to Italian peasant custom. I have no idea, I do it because my grandmother did it. You can also trim some of the skin off the eggplant with a peeler if you hate the skin. I don't mind the skin, so I left it on.


  • I used one of my grandmother's old irons as a weight. Yeah, you used to heat irons on the stove back in the day, and I wore an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time.


  • Once your timer for the sauce goes off, the eggplant should have been pressed for 30-45 mins, and should be fine. My eggplants had very few seeds, and the bitterness is in the seeds- so I got lucky. You can often see brownish juice around the seeds after pressing them. That's the bitterness. No need to wash it off- it comes off when you fry them. You can leave the sauce simmering on very low heat while you do the next step.

Frying the Eggplant

  • Okay. Now comes the complicated part! Crack your eggs and whisk them with a fork in a bowl. You can stretch your egg wash with a few tablespoons of water. Fill a plate with your breadcrumbs and spread it out. You will likely need a full half pound. Mine were mixed half & half with panko, Japanese coarse breadcrumbs. They make it a little crunchier. You can use seasoned if you prefer. You will also want a plate with paper towels on it for the fried eggplant to drain.


  • Now pour a quarter inch of oil in a cast iron pan- or whatever deep skillet you have- and turn the heat to med-high. Once it is hot, start frying your eggplant- dip a slice in egg, let it drip for a second, then slap both sides in the breadcrumbs. Place them carefully in the canola oil. Fill your pan quickly so they cook evenly. It takes a minute or two for each side to brown; flip them carefully with a spatula so you don't splatter yourself. When each side is lightly browned, remove the slices to the paper towels. You'll want to put a paper towel between each layer to soak off the oil.


  • Now do this until all your eggplant is fried! You may need to add more canola oil to the pan, as the eggplant soaks it up. I required 2 large eggs with a few tablespoons of water and a full 8oz. of breadcrumbs for the eggplants in the photo. You don't want to run out! You can finish with just egg if you run out of crumbs. Just put those bastard eggplant in the middle when we build the parmigiana in the baking dish!

Building the Eggplant Parmigiana


  • Prepare your pot of sauce, your plate of fried eggplant, your parmesan cheese and grater by your baking dish. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, then a layer of eggplant slices. Then top them with sauce, and grate (or sprinkle) a layer of parmesan. The amount of cheese is up to you. You can even make it more like a lasagna, and put a layer of mozzarella as well. I used stravecchio parmesan; that's my personal favorite, you can use your own.


  • Then make another layer; try to fill in spaces so you don't just make single stacks; I try to do 4 large slices, then 5 small ones, then 4, etc. When you are done, top it with sauce and parmesan. The bubbly top layer will be 1/4" thick slices of mozzarella cheese. Slice your mozzarella and cover most of the top with it. I used 8oz. of part skim mozzarella. Fresh would be optimal, but it can be watery. Top it and then sprinkle with a little ground black pepper if desired.
  • Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees, place your baking dish on top of a baking pan in case it bubbles over!


  • And then put it in the oven. Set a timer for 20 mins, and check it every 20 minutes for bubbling. Once the sauce bubbles, bake it for 20-30 mins after that, until the cheese browns slightly. You don't want the cheese to burn! Mine is a little overcooked, and my sauce is a little too watery- I should have let it simmer another hour, learn from my mistakes. This will still be very tasty once it steeps overnight in the fridge. I'm eating it for lunches next week.


  • As a bonus, here is my Pepe le Pew spoon holder covered with a money shot of fry grease.