Do you have one of those dishes you've always heard about, but have never tried? For me that was Eggplant Parmesan. I've seen in on cooking shows, seen it on restuarant menus, read about it in cookbooks, but until a few weeks never tried it. It was so good. I can see why many people call it a "comfort food."
When making something new, I always consult my favorite cookbook -- America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. In true Test Kitchen form, this has many, many steps. I tried to simplify the steps a little, but follow directions exactly. Don't let the length of time or steps deter you. It is worth all the effort!
(time: 40 to allow eggplant to soak, 30 minutes to bake, 15 minutes to prep, 15 minutes for final bake)
1 eggplant, sliced in 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup flour
2 cups breadcrumbs
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups tomato sauce (jar or homemade)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
5 basil leaves (optional
1. Toss eggplant with salt and let drain in colander for 40 minutes.
2. Place rimmed baking sheet (or use foil to create a rim) in 425 degree oven.
3. Combine flour, 1/2 tsp pepper in large ziplock bag and shake.
4. Beat eggs in shallow dish.
5. Combine breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in second shallow dish.
6. Press firmly on eggplants with paper towel to dry. Wipe away as much of salt as possible.
7. Place 8 eggplant slices in ziplock bag with flour and pepper. Shake to coat.
8. Shake off excess and dip eggplant in eggs.
9. Remove excess and coat evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Press to adhere.
10. Lay breaded eggplant on wire rack. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices.
11. Remove preheated sheet from oven. Pour 3 Tbsp of oil on sheet.
12. Spread eggplant on sheet in single layer.
13. Bake for about 20 minutes. Eggplant will be well browned and crisp.
14. Flip, rotate sheet and bake for about 10 minutes later.
15. Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce on bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish.
16. Scatter eggplant on top of sauce.
17. Place 1/2 cup or so on top of eggplant. (I spooned a little onto each eggplant).
18. Sprinkle on half of mozzarella.
19. Place remaining eggplant on top, scatter.
20. Add sauce on top of eggplant. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella,
21. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup of parmesan.
22. Bake until cheese bubbles and is well browned. About 15 minutes
23. Sprinkle with optional basil and cool for 10 minutes.
24. Serve with leftover sauce and extra parmesan.
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