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Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Classic Eggplant Parmesan // Karista's Kitchen

I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year than with this dreamy Classic Eggplant Parmesan.

It wasn’t long ago that I could hardly boil water.  I’m not kidding.  Years ago, anything I cooked could have caused a slow and painful death. Yep, I’m a tiny bit dramatic, but truly, it may not be far from the truth.

Back in the day, my signature meal was a sausage quiche I learned to make while living in Louisiana, fried chicken, biscuits, turkey kielbasa and sauerkraut and a few meals on the grill.  That was it. My culinary repertoire. On occasion I would branch out and follow a recipe just to make something different, but even then my culinary skills were terribly limited.

This is why I originally enrolled in culinary school almost 17 years ago – and as they say the rest is history. 😉

Of course, it didn’t help that I lived next door to the most incredible Italian home chef.  Unbelievably delicious scent’s drifting from next door right into my open windows – while I’m trying to prepare a decent meal and all I can think of is that I’d rather be eating at my neighbor’s house tonight.   Knowing how much I loved her cooking, my sweet neighbor would always bring me a sample.

Daniella’s eggplant parmesan was my favorite dish she made – olive oil fried eggplant layered among shredded mozzarella and homemade sauce.  A little bit of work but so worth every ounce of effort.  I’ve made eggplant parmesan for years now and tweaked the original recipe just a hair since those days.  Rather than labor over the flour, egg and breadcrumbs, I simply salt, pepper and flour the eggplant (I can be a lazy chef), lightly fry and then begin to layer.  Sometimes I’ll layer in a bit of herbed ricotta and I adore using whole milk mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella.  You can make your own sauce or use your favorite.

I like to make this in individual serving dishes but family style works just as well.  Serve with your favorite tossed green salad or THIS salad or THIS salad and I also love THIS salad, and some crusty Italian bread.

However you like to prepare this Classic Eggplant Parmesan, it will be a huge hit at your kitchen table.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

 

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

Serving Size: 4-6

Classic Eggplant Parmesan

This is probably one of the most quintessential Italian dishes. Lush and rich in flavor as well as texture, this dish can stand on it’s own or be served as a lovely side dish.

Photos originally published in 2015 Dec/Jan Issue of Home By Design Magazine by Karista Bennett

Ingredients

  • 1-2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced about ¼ inch thick rounds or sliced lengthwise
  • Sea or Kosher salt
  • 2 cups Whole milk mozzarella, shredded or sliced
  • 1 cup Romano cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan for garnish
  • 3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Salt the eggplant slices and let them sit in a colander in a large bowl for about 20-30 minutes to drain the excess liquid from the eggplant. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Dust the eggplant slices with the flour, shaking off the extra flour. Using a large skillet or frying pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, pan-fry the eggplant slices just until golden brown. Place the eggplant slices on a paper towel lined cookie sheet to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  • Once the eggplant slices have been browned, place ¼ cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish, or if using 2 eggplants, a 10x15x2 rectangular baking dish. You can also prepare this recipe in individual baking dishes.
  • Layer slices of eggplant over the tomato sauce and then top with a little more sauce and a layer of mozzarella and Romano and a little chopped fresh basil. Continue layering the eggplant, sauce, cheese and basil. I usually end up with 3-4 layers.
  • Cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove the eggplant from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Slice into squares and serve with additional sauce and parmesan cheese.
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    6 Comments

  • Reply
    Coco in the Kitchen
    January 4, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Yummy yum yum!
    Too bad my hubs doesn’t like eggplant.
    I’ll have to make this for myself some time.
    Happy 2016, beautiful lady!

    • Reply
      Karista
      January 4, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Awww… I know the feeling! My husband isn’t crazy about curry so I usually make a little pot of it just for me. 🙂 Happy 2016 to you and your darling family! xo Karista

  • Reply
    Virginia Payne
    January 5, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    It’s been tricky to find ways for my husband to like eggplant. This would be one of dishes he would like. Lovely.

    • Reply
      Karista
      January 6, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you Virginia! My husband never cared for eggplant until I made eggplant parmesan. He loved it! Happy 2016!

  • Reply
    alyssa (everyday maven)
    January 8, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I love eggplant parm. next time i get a craving, i am going to try yours!

    • Reply
      Karista
      January 9, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thanks Alyssa! Sometimes I don’t even flour it and just give it a quick pan fry. Then it’s totally gluten free and my daughter can eat it. 🙂 Happy New Year!!

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