A Southern Grace: labor of love

September 26, 2017

labor of love


Eggplant parmesan. There's no denying that I can be a lazy cook.

I mean, I almost always skip past a recipe that requires separating eggs and whipping the whites and I avoid frying things because it's a hassle to clean up all the dredging plates and oil spatters. That said, when I do decide to take on a project like that, the end result better be good and I had better get some appreciation!

There were no oil messes to clean up for this recipe--the eggplant was baked rather than fried--but there were dredging plates. After slicing and draining the eggplant in a colander (1), it gets dredged in seasoned flour (2), covered in egg (3), and then coated with a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan cheese (4)(5). See--that's already 5 dishes to wash! The slices get baked on wire racks (6)(7) and then layered with marinara sauce and cheese. The ATK method has you put most of the sauce on the bottom and dollop on only a little onto the slices of eggplant so they maintain their crispiness, and I found that to be a wonderful technique.

I'm happy to say that the end result of my labor was delicious and definitely worth the washing of tens of dishes. Your mileage may vary.

Easy (But Not the Easiest) Eggplant Parmesan
(printable recipe)
Serves 6-8
  • 2 pounds eggplant (2 medium eggplants), sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4-5 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella, shredded
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn, for garnish
FOR THE EGGPLANT: Toss eggplant slices and salt in large bowl until combined; transfer salted eggplant to large colander set over bowl. Place paper towels between the layers and let stand 30 to 45 minutes, pressing occasionally.
Move the eggplant slices to a fresh set of paper towels; cover with more paper towels and firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F and place wire racks in two rimmed baking sheets lined with foil.
Place bread crumbs, 1 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper in a shallow dish or pie plate; set aside.
Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine.
Beat eggs in second pie plate.
Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour; seal bag and shake to coat eggplant.
Remove eggplant slices, shaking off excess flour, dip in eggs, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with bread crumb mixture; set breaded slices on wire rack set over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
Bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 20 min. Do not turn off oven.
TO ASSEMBLE: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a greased 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
Layer in half of eggplant slices, overlapping slices to fit; distribute 1 cup sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with half of mozzarella.
Layer in remaining eggplant and dot with 1 cup sauce, leaving majority of eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned, 13 to 15 min. Cool 10 minutes; scatter basil over top, and serve.


Angie's Recipes said...

It has been years since I last really fried something...the cleaning is just troublesome and smell just won't go away easily. So these days I love anything oven baked. Your eggplant with Parm. looks terrific, Grace.

gloriadelpilar_1994@yahoo.com said...

I love eggsplants and this looks absolutely delicious !!

Marcelle said...

We have been loving our baked not fried meals around here lately (and I love breaded and deep-fried everything!) I'm adding this one to our list to make soon. Really looks amazing, Grace!

Marjie said...

I'm just not a fan of 5 dishes just to get the food ready to go into the oven, but this eggplant looks like it might have been worth the effort!

Kapsul Gamat Emas Walatra said...

Nice information.. i like your blog. :)

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen said...

This absolutely looks with the effort it takes to make. YUM!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I am such a lazy cook but sometimes I get a burst of energy :P If I have to beat whites and yolks separately I always do the whites first so I don't have to wash the bowl!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Great recipe Grace, love that you baked yours. Always a favorite at my house but I never make it enough. Pictures are beautiful!

Emma - Bake Then Eat said...

I rarely fry anything these days, the very occasional egg if I’m after a real comfort food, but I much prefer baked food and this dish is just perfect for me.

Gingi said...

Ohhhh,I have missed your blog!! (It always makes me hungry, haha)... happy to be reading again! <3 - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

Adina said...

One of my favorite ways of enjoying eggplants, I don't like frying them either (I worry more about the calories, than the cleaning...), but in the oven works well. I really feel like eating this right now!

Anonymous said...

So much "grown up" food now Grace! I fry mine in a thin layer of oil--I'll have to try baking it, that would be so much nicer!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I can be a lazy cook myself.... Especially when it comes to creating a mess! I like this technique for eggplant Parmesan! My step father in law gave us about 7-8 HUGE eggplants from his garden and I've been really struggling to use them all up!

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

I'm super lazy and just bake eggplants plain usually - but you're inspiring me lol

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies said...

This looks and sounds soo good! We grew eggplants last year as our "new veg" to love, and just failed in any recipe I tried. I don't remember all of your steps in the recipe I tried though. If I ever muster up the energy to try again, I'll try it your way! You have never lead me wrong :)

Agness of Run Agness Run said...

This is such an awesome dish which I can't wait to try, Grace! As a passionate lover of eggplants, this is my kind of recipe!