Eggplant parm has got to be the greatest dish I've every had. I remember my mom and or Italian grandfather would make it on very special occasions. My twin sister, Michele and I, would order eggplant parm every time we ate out at an Italian restaurant. Our roots are Italian and Greek. My brother, sister and I were born in Miami, Fl and I believe that's where the love of food truly began. Our families communed over holidays, birthdays, christenings, bar-mitzfahs, you get the idea. If there was a celebration, there was food. Eggplant parm is special. It's not only delicious, but brings me back to my roots and beloved family. Here's how I make mine. Please Enjoy!
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 30min
1-2 Eggplant, peeled, sliced and salted(to salt; place sliced eggplant on a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt, allowing the eggplant to "sweat." Blot, flip and repeat on the other side. Let sweat for about 15-minutes per side.
2 eggs + 1tbsp water
1-2 cups Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C white wine
1 C chicken stock
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tsp honey
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese rind(optional)
bunch of basil, chopped
Make the sauce:
In a heavy bottomed pan, or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Next, add the garlic until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Deglaze with white wine, reduce slightly
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, honey, italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, adding in the parmesan rind. Half cover and simmer, allowing the flavors to develop, stirring frequently. This can take anywhere from 30min to 2 hours, depending on the depth of flavor you are hoping to achieve.
When complete, take off the heat and add basil. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Create a dredging station while allowing the sauce to do its thing:
Grab 2 shallow dishes, placing your seasoned bread crumbs into first dish. In the second dish, mix up your eggs and add some water and salt and pepper
I usually like to designate one had as the "wet" hand and one the "dry", this way the dredge doesn't become cement on your hands. And yes, you could add seasoned flour to your dredging station, but this is the way my mom did it, so it's the way I do too.
Using my "wet" hand, I will take a slice of eggplant and dip into the egg, coating well and then transfer to the breadcrumbs. Using your "dry" hand, coat the egg soaked eggplant slice with breadcrumbs. Make sure to get an even coating.
Place the breaded eggplant onto a sheet pan, lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 400F for 20min, flip and bake an additional 10. Alternatively, you could bake for 20 min, flip and toast the other side under the broiler.
My mom and grandfather used to fry and/or bake the eggplant, it just depended on the day. To fry, dredge each eggplant slice, following the previous method. Then, using a shallow frying pan, heat up about an inch of vegetable or olive oil and fry 2-3 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Place to drain on a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 375F
Take a ladle of sauce and place in the bottom of a prepared 9x9inch baking dish
Next add a layer of eggplant. Top with another ladle of sauce and top with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. Repeat layers until you run out of eggplant. Top with another ladle of sauce, some more grated parmesan and finish with shredded mozzarella cheese.
To make this extra special, I sprinkle on some seasoned bread crumbs and drizzle with some olive oil.
Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes.
I like to place under the broiler to get the top nice and bubbly and golden brown