Eggplant Parm

My family has this thing with eggplant parm.

It all started in Syracuse, in a family-owned restaurant called Grimaldi’s.

My parents would go there for date night every Friday night. They inhaled the fresh baked bread. They each sipped a glass of red wine.

And they both ordered their own eggplant parm, with no leftovers to bring home.

After I was born, I joined them on these weekly dates, a breadstick in my hand and small pieces of their meal fed to me.

I share my mother’s pickiness when scrutinizing this dish. The eggplant should be perfectly cooked, but not soggy. It should have a nice crust, but the inside should be mealy. There should be a perfect blend of cheese, sauce, eggplant, and crunch – but it must be balanced.

I’ve yet to find such a dish at any of my favorite Italian restaurants. But I’ve finally – FINALLY – been able to recreate it at home.

This eggplant parm has joined our weekly rotation of recipes, along with Friday night burgers, weekend muffins, and easy kimchi cauliflower fried rice. I like to whip this up for Sunday dinner, along with a salad and a nice bottle of Italian red.

It’s not the quickest recipe, but it’s among my easiest.

And most delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce (I like arrabiata or a fresh tomato sauce)
  • 3 cups of shredded mozzarella
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Basil

Directions

  • Preheat the oven for 400 degrees F.
  • Slice the bottoms and tops from the eggplants. Stand them upright, and slice into 4 long quarters. Repeat with other eggplant.
  • Generously salt the eggplant slices on both sides. Arrange them upright and allow them to sit for 30-45 minutes, to remove all the water. Prepare the sauce or a salad while the eggplant rests.
  • Rinse the salt from the eggplant, and dry thoroughly. Lie the pieces flat.
  • Using a chef’s knife, gently pierce the eggplant diagonally in both directions, taking care not to slice the eggplant all the way through.
  • Arrange the slices in shallow baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil over the slices, and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Bake the eggplant until golden, about 20-25 minutes. While eggplant is baking, fill a shallow bowl with panko bread crumbs. Drizzle about 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil and combine. The breadcrumbs should be well coated in olive oil, but not drowned in it.
  • Remove the eggplant from the oven.
  • Top the eggplants generously in the following manner:
    • Panko oil mixture (~1 tablespoon)
    • Mozzarella (~2 tablespoons)
    • Sauce (~2 tablespoons)
    • Mozzarella (~2 tablespoons)
    • Panko oil mixture  (~1 tablespoon)
  • Return eggplant to oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes or so.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Craving Italian? You will love this restaurant’s famous spaghetti, a summery risotto, and this healthier version of cacio e pepe.

You can find (and sort!) all my recipes here

Well, that was quick.

Yep! Quick Hits are short posts that peek into my life – what I’m wearing, cooking, and reading. View all quick hits here, and check out these recent ones I know you’ll love: