Growing up in the small Italian-American town of Astoria, Queens, I was surrounded by a rich culinary tradition. My grandmother was the best chef in the family, and I always looked forward to her Sunday dinners. Her eggplant parmesan was my absolute favorite dish! She would start with thinly sliced eggplant, just like my recipe below, and layer it with a homemade marinara sauce, freshly-grated mozzarella cheese, and fragrant herbs. I still make her recipe today, although I like to add a few twists of my own.
This eggplant parmesan dish is simple to make, yet packed with flavor. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner, or for a Sunday lunch with friends and family. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover eggplant in the fridge. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned home cook, this is one Italian classic that you won’t want to miss!
Variations: If you’re looking for a heartier dish, add cooked Italian sausage or ground beef to the marinara sauce. You can also switch up the cheeses – try a blend of mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta for a richer flavor.
Tips: Make sure to slice the eggplant thinly, and don’t forget to salt it first to draw out the excess moisture. This will help the eggplant slices crisp up nicely. Also, if you’re short on time, you can use store-bought marinara sauce instead of making your own.
Expert-Approved Italian Eggplant Parmesan
- baking dish, baking sheet, skillet, cutting board, knife, saucepan, wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons
- 2 large eggplants, thinly sliced
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
- 0.25 cup olive oil
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 0.5 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Slice the eggplant into thin rounds. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Put the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs into three separate shallow dishes. Dip each eggplant slice into the flour, then the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggplant slices until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Arrange the eggplant slices in an even layer on top. Top with more marinara sauce, followed by the mozzarella cheese, parsley, basil, and garlic powder.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the eggplant is cooked through. Serve warm.