Eggplant Parmesan, or Eggplant Parmigiana, is possibly my very favourite vegetarian dish. Of that long list, it may also be the least healthy, unless of course you count french fries or ice cream. When done properly eggplant parmagiana should be a melty mess of tomato sauce, breaded eggplant, and stringy cheese.
Admittedly, this recipe isn’t quick. Between the breading and the frying it takes at least 30 minutes to make, but it is worth it. Before all the local eggplants disappear and we are into the butternuts and cranberries, make this on a rainy afternoon.
Eggplant Parmigiana(serves 4)
Slice the eggplant into 1cm slices. Sprinkle with salt and place in a strainer. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to allow any bitter juices to drain away. Remove from the strainer and pat dry. In a small bowl beat the eggs gently and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside. Prepare two plates, one with the breadcrumbs and one with the flour. Sprinkle the flour with salt and pepper and mix up with your fingers. Setup a cooling rack nearby to hold your breaded eggplant.
With each eggplant slice dredge it in flour, shake off excess, then dunk it in the egg mixture and then coat in the breadcrumbs. Place on the cooling rack as you go to prevent the slice from growing soggy. Repeat with the remaining slices. (If you can bread and cook at the same time go for it.) Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the eggplant on each side until golden brown and again store on a rack. If there is no oil left in the pan add a tablespoon at a time, allow to heat up and then continue adding the eggplant until all slices have been cooked.
On a baking sheet spread one third of the tomato sauce. Place one layer of the eggplant down on the sheet and cover with a slice of mozzarella, a sprinkle of basil and then a dollop of the tomato sauce. Top with another slice of eggplant another sprinkle of basil, dollop of sauce and then slice of cheese. Place under the broiler until nice and bubbly. Serve hot.