Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is a dish that I absolutely love, but don’t make often enough.  Back in August, we were invited to our friend’s family beach house in NY.  We had a fabulous time and ate delicious food.  Our friend’s dad cooked us some amazing eggplant parmesan; the eggplants, tomatoes, and basil were all from his garden.  Instead of coating the eggplant in breadcrumbs, he coated each slice with flour and egg and then fried.  It was delicious because you could actually taste the freshness of the eggplant.  Sometimes, eggplant parmesan is overly drenched in breadcrumbs and as a result, takes away from the actual taste of the eggplant.  In lieu of this amazing eggplant parm, I decided to make it the same way – sans breadcrumbs.  This dish is Italian, comfort food at its finest!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 24 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • About 20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large stock pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds.  Add crushed tomatoes, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25-30 minutes.
  3. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.  Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl.  Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, and then dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.
  4. Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant slices, turning over once, until golden brown, 5-6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.
  5. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish.  Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary.  Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella and Parmesan.  Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and cheeses.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35-40 minutes.

*Adapted from Gourmet

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