When it comes to the month of April, it can be hard to decide what to cook. Some days are gloriously sunny and Spring-like, others are chilly and rain-filled. When you find yourself at home on one of those cool April days, whip up a platter of comforting and delicious eggplant parmesan.
This Italian-American favorite is layered with eggplants, tomato sauce, and cheese. While you could use store-bought tomato sauce, the dish will taste so much better if you take the time to make your own.
The recipe doesn't specify what kind of breadcrumbs to use — I made mine with homemade. However, the texture was a little off, and I would have preferred it with more crunch, therefore I recommend making it with purchased crumbs. Eggplant parm is a vegetarian entree that's great for entertaining, so get the recipe now.
4 small or 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons water
About 3/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for frying
2 cups tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded mozzarella
Slice the eggplant into disks about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange a layer of eggplant in a large colander. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and then top with another layer of eggplant. Continue salting the eggplant until it is all in the colander. Set the colander over a bowl or in the sink and allow the eggplant to "sweat" for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the eggs, 2 tablespoons parmesan, water, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
Mix the bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parmesan in another medium bowl.
Wipe the eggplant slices dry. Using a fork, dip each slice into the eggs and then into the bread crumbs. Press the bread crumbs into place with your hands.
Heat about 1/2-inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is almost smoking, begin to fry the eggplant in batches, never crowding the pan. Cook the slices until they are golden and then flip them and brown the second side, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the fried eggplant on paper towels, seasoning each batch with salt and pepper while hot.
Assemble in a medium baking dish (11 x 8). Spoon about 1/2 cup tomato sauce into the dish to moisten the bottom. Add a layer of eggplant. Trim the last few pieces so they fit into the pan. Sprinkle the eggplant with about 2 tablespoons parmesan and top with a little less than one-third of the mozzarella. Spoon a little more sauce on top and continue layering until you have used all the eggplant. The final layer of sauce and cheese should be the most generous.
Bake the eggplant parmesan until the cheese is melted and the sauce bubbly, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the parmesan rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.