Eggplant Parmesan is entirely underrated in my opinion. Why? Probably because almost every restaurant rendition I’ve ever had is a greasy, fried, sloppy mess with an overwhelming amount of cheese served over overcooked pasta. And if you try to make it the way it gets served up most places, your kitchen is covered in frying grease, breading, and smells like fried eggplant for about a week. Not good. This version does involve a little frying, but what I call a gentle fry, not a hard fry. So less work. And the real texture and flavor of the eggplant is brought out by browning the eggplant instead of breading and deep frying. I use my homemade tomato sauce, but you can use any kind you’d like. Though I think anyone’s homemade sauce is going to outdo the store bought stuff. This is a very simple recipe and it comes together so quickly. I use fresh mozzarella because of its light and sweet flavor, but you can totally use shredded cheese. Or even vegan cheese! Do with it what you will. I use gluten free pasta, but serve it up with any variety of pasta or side. It’s simple enough you can customize this to fit your family’s needs. And that’s amore!
2 large eggplant, sliced
12 oz fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
1 ½ tsp Kosher Salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Grapeseed or other neutral oil
Dried Oregano, for topping (optional)
- First, slice your eggplant into 1/2 inch slices and lay out flat on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and drizzle with the lemon juice. Do this up to two hours in advance. The longer the salt sits, the more moisture will be drawn out. This is an optional step, you may salt just before cooking, but let it sit at least 10-15 min.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, heat a large skillet lined with a thin layer of oil over high heat. Pat your eggplant dry and fry the slices in batches until browned on both sides. Roughly 5-6 min. Set eggplant on a plate and set aside.
- Now, in a large baking dish begin with a layer of eggplant, then layer the sauce, cheese, and another layer of eggplant until you run out of room. Top with a final layer of mozzarella before adding the Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of oregano. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.