Jen’s husband, Shea, makes a killer eggplant parm. Sadly, this is not that recipe. But in my quest to find a good one, I hit up my fantasy best friend, Martha Stewart. I’m not sure out of which issue of Martha Stewart Living I tore this, but it’s absolutely delicious. I posted pictures of it on Facebook a few months ago and several of you asked for the recipe, so far be it from me to deny the people what they want.
There’s a bit of prep involved in breading and frying the eggplant. In fact, I won’t make it during the week when my husband isn’t at home to wrangle the girls while I cook. But if you’ve got some time on a Sunday afternoon, it’ll be worth it for Sunday night dinner!
Grease sometimes gives this dish a bad rap. The trick is to fry the breaded eggplant quickly over high heat, so it doesn’t absorb too much oil. Then drain on paper towels to remove any excess. Thanks, Martha!
For Breading and Frying
2 cups fine plain fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 large eggplants, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
Marinara Sauce (recipe to follow)
3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
¾ cup finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (1½ ounces)
1. Bread and fry the eggplant: Combine breadcrumbs, Romano cheese, ½ tsp. salt, and some pepper. Put flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in 3 separate dishes. Dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in large, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (Oil is ready when a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in.) Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. (If oil gets too dirty, discard, and heat an additional ¼ cup.)
3. Assemble the dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread ½ cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and ¼ cup Romano. Repeat twice to form layers with eggplant, sauce, then cheeses. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cans (28 ounces each) peeled whole tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt, and some pepper. Simmer, covered, until thick, about 25 minutes. Stir in herbs.
1. If you don’t want to make your own marinara, you can totally use your favorite jarred sauce. You need about 3 ½ cups. But I will say that this one is delicious and makes your house smell really, really good while it’s bubbling away.
2. You can also use store-bought breadcrumbs and dried herbs, if you don’t have fresh readily available. Use 2 Tbsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried oregano and add to the sauce along with the tomatoes to give them a chance to reconstitute.
3. Seriously, if you have a one and a three-year-old, don’t do this alone!! Breading those eggplant slices leaves your fingers so goopy and gross. And then what if your one-year-old sticks an Easter jellybean up her nose? I’m just looking out for you.