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We are in eggplant overload!  In the past 2 weeks, our little garden has yielded 7 gorgeous eggplant and by this weekend, we should have another 3 or 4 ready to harvest.  It’s insane and I hope you’re ready for some fantastic eggplant recipes in the next couple of weeks!  I think the Epsom salt we used this year has been working its magic.

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In all honesty, I’ve been wanting to share this recipe with you since last summer after having made it numerous times in the past year, but I could never get my photography world to align with the eggplant parm gods (basically, all of my earlier photos of this recipe have sucked).  In short, this is the perfect eggplant parmesan recipe where crispy edges of the baked eggplant peak through light layers of a simple homemade tomato sauce and irresistible melted mozzarella cheese.  The breaded eggplant is baked in similar fashion to these baked oven fries and while we all know that making eggplant parm tends to be a little labor-intensive on the front end, how could you go wrong with the oven doing all the hard work instead of your standing over a pan of hot oil in an already too-hot kitchen in the middle of summer?

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The last time we made this recipe, we ended up baking way too many eggplant rounds so we froze the extra cooled rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet then tossed them in a freezer bag for the next time a craving arises.  Alternatively, I feel like the baked rounds by themselves could lend themselves to a myriad of other eggplant dishes like sandwiches or panini with fresh veggies and garlic aioli, eggplant stacks with roasted red peppers and goat cheese, eggplant slices topped with a poached egg for breakfast or a light lunch…you get the idea.

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Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

This is not a quick eggplant parmesan recipe but it is worth the wait and work in every way possible. You can absolutely use your own sauce, either homemade or jarred, but if you're up for it, try this 15-minute recipe - it's truly excellent.

Ingredients

    For the Eggplant:
  • 2 medium eggplant (about 2 lbs) cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 4 cups Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (about 2 oz)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • For the Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 cans (14 ½ oz each) diced tomatoes (or pureed or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and ground pepper
  • For Baking:
  • 8 oz whole or part-skim mozzarella, shredded (2 cups)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 oz)
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  1. To make the eggplant: In a large bowl, toss half of the eggplant slices and 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt; transfer salted eggplant to colander set over bowl. Repeat with remaining eggplant and salt. Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 45 minutes. Arrange eggplant slices on a triple layer of paper towels; cover with a triple layer of paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.
  2. While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-thirds of the oven, place rimmed baking sheets on both racks, and heat oven to 425° F.
  3. In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine. Beat eggs in second pie plate. Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour, dip in eggs, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Set breaded slices on wire rack set over baking sheet. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
  5. Remove preheated baking sheets from oven; add 3 tablespoons oil to each sheet, tilting to coat evenly with oil. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in single layer; bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 20 minutes. Do not turn off oven.
  6. To make the sauce: While eggplant bakes, process the diced tomatoes in a food processor or blender until almost smooth (if using pureed or crushed tomatoes, skip this step).
  7. Heat olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden, about 3 minutes; stir in processed and remaining can of tomatoes. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir in basil and season to taste.
  8. To assemble and bake: Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Layer in half of eggplant slices, overlapping slices to fit; distribute 1 cup sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Layer in remaining eggplant and dot with 1 cup sauce, leaving majority of eggplant exposed so it will remain crisp. Sprinkle with ½ cup Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.
  9. Bake until bubbling and cheese is browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, scatter basil over top, and serve, passing remaining tomato sauce separately.

Source

source: adapted from The New Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated, as seen on Ezra Pound Cake

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/08/baked-eggplant-parmesan/

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  • August 23, 2011 at 6:22 AM

    What a beautiful bounty!

  • August 23, 2011 at 6:25 AM

    I have mini eggplants this year – they’re not getting long! But, I have them 🙂 And I’ve been looking for a recipe to make…sold! This looks amazing. And the photos…are…stunning! Worth the wait!

  • August 23, 2011 at 7:50 AM

    I have never been able to get my husband on board the eggplant train. His memories of his mom’s dishes turned him away, sadly. 🙂 I’m thinking this might do the trick though. It looks fabulous. Lucky you to be able to head to your garden and then create this!

  • August 23, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    Wow…your eggplants are gorgeous! I need to try epsom salt. 🙂

  • August 23, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Those are some beautiful eggplants and meal!

  • RavieNomNoms
    August 23, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    I love eggplant parm! It is one of my favorites

  • August 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    This looks perfect! What a great use for homegrown eggplant!

  • August 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Those eggplants are BEAUTIFUL! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  • August 23, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    One of my very favorite meals… looks so good! Your photos are gorgeous.

  • August 23, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    those are the prettiest pictures of eggplant parm i have ever seen! it looks so delicious!

  • August 24, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    This looks stunning. I haven’t learned to love eggplant yet, but I am trying. This fork worthy parmesan certainly has me wanting to try again!

  • August 24, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Oh Tara, this looks SO delicious! I have got to try this!

  • August 25, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    We love love love eggplants. I just saved this recipe and will be making it in the very near future!

  • August 25, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Made this tonight, and all I have to say is Yum!

  • August 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    this looks awesome! we have been getting a TON of eggplant in our CSA, I think i’ll need to make this for dinner!

  • August 29, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    This recipe looks delicious! However, I use Google Chrome and it wouldn’t let me print it so I copied and pasted it into Word. Just an FYI 🙂

    • smellslikehome
      August 29, 2011 at 9:17 AM

      Jen: There is also a print option in the “Share This” feature at the bottom of all my posts.

  • August 31, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    This looks awesome, going to make it tonight!

  • J
    November 18, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Absolutely mouthwatering photos! Can’t wait to try your recipe, just wish I found it sooner.

  • Leanne Dee
    February 27, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Just made your recipe and it was delicious!

  • teresa
    March 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    can this be prepared before and frozen?

  • mg
    August 15, 2012 at 12:31 AM

    Just made this and couldn’t be more excited. It’s delicious, pretty and perfect for dinner with you mate.

  • August 16, 2012 at 10:24 AM

    This looks wonderful! I am excited about trying your recipe. I shared a link to your recipe on my blog’s “favorite finds” today.

  • barb
    October 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    you have peaked my curiosity—-what is the epson salt suppossed to do ???? Is it for bug control, or growth ?
    thanks

    • October 1, 2012 at 9:52 PM

      It acts like a fertilizer. I’ve been reading more and more about its use in the gadren and apparently, tomatoes are fond of it as well.

  • J
    January 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    What sides do you use? Or do u just eat this w/o sides?

    • January 14, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      A salad would be great on the side.

  • D Eller
    February 18, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    Just tried this recipe, eggplant Parmesan, for the first time and it turned out perfectly, just amazing. Thank you.

    • February 18, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      So great to hear! This eggplant parm definitely isn’t a quick one (are there actually quick eggplant parm recipes out there?) but it’s certainly worth the effort. Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment!

  • Amy
    August 18, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    I made this tonight and it was totally worth the effort. I love how crispy and brown the eggplant got in the oven. Absolutely delicious. Thanks!

    • taraliptak
      August 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

      You’re welcome and thanks for coming back to let me know how it turned out for you. You’re right too – totally worth the effort!!

  • taraliptak
    May 7, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Haha! Yes, this is not a vegetarian-only recipe! So glad to hear you all loved it!

  • March 19, 2015 at 8:59 AM

    You’re welcome – glad you enjoyed it!

  • Sam Arfeen
    October 8, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    can you sub canola or olive oil for vegetable oil?

    • October 8, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      You can use canola oil here. Olive oil will smoke at high temperatures.

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