Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

This dish of mine is famous among my family and friends. Yup. It's what I'm known for- my signature dish. People make special requests for it all the time. It's right up there with cupcake requests for birthday parties. Crazy, eh?

In fact, it's so good that I have reformed eggplant haters. I've had quite a few people tell me that they refuse to eat eggplant because of a bad experience, blah blah. But I take no excuses and force them to try it anyway. And of course, they're hooked after the first bite. When you have eggplant haters loving your eggplant dish, you know you've got something spectacular!

Since eggplant is mild in flavor, when all is said and done, this dish tastes like a super savory lasagna. But ten times better. So if you like lasagna, you'll love this dish! I hardly ever make lasagna now because Hubby (and everyone else) prefers this instead. It's a good way to get your hubby/kids to eat their veggies without knowing it!

You'll want to pick out two large eggplants. Make sure that they're both similar in shape and size. This is super important for when you slice them later (you'll need your slices to be similar in size). Pick the eggplants that are large in circumference and are pretty much even throughout. Meaning, don't pick the ones that are thin at the top and fat at the bottom. Get the ones that are as close to being a cylinder as possible.

Peel the eggplant and trim off the edges on all four sides to make a square-ish shape. This serves two purposes: (1) it gets rid of the tough edges. If you use them in your dish, you will have pieces that are tough and chewy. (2) it makes it so that your slices will be more uniformed... so. You should be able to get 6 slices per eggplant at 1/2 inch thick.

Next, set up a breading station with: (1) the slices of eggplant, (2) a flour, salt, and pepper mixture, (3) egg wash, (4) a breadcrumb and seasoning mixture, and (5) a clean plate.

First, coat the eggplant with your flour mixture. Tap off the excess flour.

Next, dip it in the egg wash.

Then transfer it to the breadcrumb plate and coat well. Tap off the excess.

Place on a clean plate and repeat until all the eggplant slices are coated.

You'll have egg wash left over, about 1/4 cup. Pour all of it into a mixing bowl with 32oz of ricotta and mix well until smooth and blended. For your first time doing it, your egg wash might not come out as clean as mine. You might have bits of flour/breadcrumb clumps. If so, add 2 new eggs to the ricotta instead.

Next, heat up a skillet filled about half way with extra virgin olive oil. And please use only olive oil. I've tried it with vegetable oil and it's just not the same. I notice a drastic change in flavor and it doesn't taste as good. Quickly fry each side of the eggplant slices until golden brown. This doesn't take very long. It's about 1 minute on each side. Use tongs and do it very gently. If you're rough, you'll break the breading.

When all of them have been fried, you're ready to assemble!

You'll need two regular sized jars of Prego or one large Costco sized jar (the regular jars contain 1lb, 9.5 oz of sauce). You'll also need the ricotta mixture, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella (or I like to use the Italian blend package of cheese). Start by coating the bottom of a 13x9 pan generously with prego.

Then start layering: (1) eggplant, (2) ricotta, (3) more prego, (4) parmesan, (5) repeat. It's not an exact science. Heap on as much ricotta as you want with a generous amount of Prego per layer. You should end up with 3 loaves, with 4 slices of eggplant each. They should be able to sit side by side, filling up the entire length of the pan.

When finished with the layering, heap a generous amount of the mozzarella or Italian blend cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil half way through, so that the cheese on top has a chance to brown.

You will have extra Prego left over. It is just enough extra sauce to serve with the eggplant. Warm it up in a sauce pan or in the microwave. Serve on the side or drizzle on top of each slice before serving.

The eggplant isn't very photogenic. But it's SO delicious.. I guarantee your guests will be raving about this dish for years to come! It's a go-to classic that everyone should have in their recipe box!

Please Click HERE for the recipe.


  1. Hi Judy! Just wanted to say hello... I came across your blog a few days ago, via TasteSpotting. As a fellow Seattlite and a burgeoning domestic goddess, I was hooked immediately.

    I have to admit, I'm an eggplant hater, but this recipe looks pretty tasty! Who can resist all that frying and cheese?

    Thanks for the consistent updates; I'll have to try some of your recipes soon and let you know how they turn out!

  2. Hi Miranda! Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm thrilled that you like my blog and that you're a Seattleite too! I love this city and can't imagine myself living anywhere else. =)

    My email address is on my profile, so if you ever have any questions about my recipes or if you have great recipes to share, don't hesitate!

    Definitely let me know how things turn out! =)

  3. i am going to make this tonight! thank you!

  4. I have never cooked with eggplant before or even really thought about it...But this looks incredible! And I'm guessing less carb-y than lasagna since it doesn't have the noodles. Will have to try this one and wait until hubby tries it first before I admit what it's made with. ;)

  5. Probably the best looking eggplant Parmesan I've seen! I'm definitely wanting to make this; I happen to live with an eggplant dissident, but this might change his mind...!

  6. This is my very favorite meal in the whole world! I'm sooooo glad to see you peel your eggplant!


  7. I concur! this recipe is delicious - feel so fortunate I had a chance to taste this from the domestic goddess herself :)

  8. i will do it for sure on my baby's first birthday! looks great!


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