Ma's Eggplant Parm (because we all need a little comfort.)
Seeing how next month we celebrate Valentines Day I thought it was only appropriate to share one of my absolute favorites from growing up, comfort food that will reach the heart and bellies of loved ones! My mom’s eggplant Parmesan! No matter how many times I make this it is never as decadent as when she surprises me with a fresh baked batch! Perhaps it’s the nostalgia of walking in her home to the smell of her marinara, or the love and sweat she puts into every layer?! Either way, I will forever cherish my time spent in the kitchen with her, which is in part a great reason for my career today. You can read more about this in the sponsor spotlight article.
Now, keep in mind documenting this recipe was no easy feat. What is it about Italian moms? They pinch, they dredge, they fry, they dance, they YELL when they cook but measurement and precise direction? NOT in her cooking vocabulary! So you can imagine the challenge for me to truly convey the ways to make this mouthwatering meal! In any case, I do hope you enjoy creating this dish and that your Valentines is full of love, joy and good health!
Lastly, I’d love to see your own version – post and tag me on social media when complete!
Ma’s Eggplant Parmesan
To make the Eggplant
· 2 large eggplants, peeled and sliced into 2/10th of an inch (yes, that’s thin!) rounds
· 2-3 cups of Italian style bread crumbs (365 brand from Whole Foods or Alias Gluten Free are my picks)
· ½ cup all purpose white flour (can use all Bob’s Red Mill GF flour)
· 6 eggs, whisked with about 2 Tbs. water
· High smoke temperature oil to fry in, I like using Safflower Oil
· About 1 tsp. sea
· About 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, shredded
· About ½ -3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
· About 4 cups of tomato sauce
· Utencils: a colander, a frying pan, a deep baking dish
1. Once your eggplant is thinly sliced, layer it with a sprinkle of salt on each layer in a colander with something heavy on top to act as a weight (to remove bitterness). This can be done for anywhere up to a two hours.
2. Dredge and fry eggplant in two separate batches to avoid clumping the flour mixture:
a. First, create a station with 1) the eggplant 2) two bowls, one filled with the flour and breadcrumbs together, the other with the egg and water mixture 3) and the frying pan with ½ inch layer of oil.
b. Second, wet each piece of eggplant, dip in the flour mixture on both sides, then dip in the egg, then drop into your hot frying pan (400 degrees) for about 2 min on the first side, 11/2 minutes on the other until each piece is golden. Lay on a dish lined with paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Continue this somewhat tedious process until every piece is done. You may need to add more oil in between batches.
3. Layer your eggplant (I like to do 3 total layers) by spreading tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, a nice smear!
4. Then layer your fried eggplant overlapping just so gently at each piece, sprinkle your mozzarella and Parmesan, then add a layer of sauce. Do this 3 times until your top layer ends in a bit more Mozzarella and Parmesan over the last layer of sauce.
5. Before baking at 350 for 30 minutes, until cheese is melted and sauce begins to bubble. Pour about 1 Tbs. of water in each of the corners of the baking dish.
6. Take from oven and enjoy immediately with a leafy green salad!
7. A great meal to freeze and reheat!