This dish is inspired by and quite similar to (if not an exact copy of) my in-laws’ recipe (Hey, David! Hey, Heather!) and a variation on Martha Stewart’s recipe. But before we get buried in details, let me tell you this eggplant parmesan is delicious. It’s also relatively fun to make if you have a partner.
What makes something relatively fun to cook? There’s limited chopping. For me, that’s the most tedious part of cooking–you’d think knives would be more exciting. Another reason it’s fun is that you form a sort of assembly line while cooking that makes the whole process seem like it’s moving along. Also, there’s sizzling hot olive oil, which adds an element of danger.
So here’s what you need, or, rather, here’s what we used:
- 1 eggplant
- 2 eggs
- splash of milk or soy milk
- bread crumbs
- mixed spices (that’s just what we had–other sources say oregano)
- garlic salt
- parmesan cheese
- mozzarella cheese
- spaghetti sauce
- olive oil
- Chop the eggplant into half-inch(ish) slices.
- Cut/peel the skin off. (You don’t have to do this, but the breadcrumbs don’t attach to the skin very well, leaving you with relatively unbreaded sides.)
- Pour a fourth-inch of olive oil into a frying pan. Put on medium-high heat. (We put our burner on “4,” which is the third highest and fourth lowest setting.)
- In a small bowl, empty your two eggs and add a splash of (soy) milk. Mix.
- Fill another small bowl a little over halfway with breadcrumbs. We like our spices, so we added quite a bit (a few teaspoons?). Throw some parmesan cheese in and a pinch of garlic salt. (Martha uses regular salt, which is fine, but if you’re going to add salt, why not make it garlic?)
- Preheat oven to 350°F or a medium heat.
- Grease/oil a baking sheet and put it near the pan of oil.
Here’s how things go down:
- Using tongs, forks, or some other utensils, have person 1 dip a slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, flipping it to make sure all sides are covered. I tend to start with the biggest slice and work down to the smallest, but it doesn’t really matter.
- Person 1 then dips the slice into the breadcrumb mixture, again flipping it around so all sides are covered.
- Put the slice into the hot pan of oil.
- Person 2 tends the slices, meaning person 2 lets them cook until golden brown, flips to let the other side cook, and places slice onto baking sheet.
- Person 1 repeats steps 1–3 until all the slices are battered, while person 2 continues to tend the cooking slices.
- Stack two to three fried slices on top of each other, pour spaghetti sauce on top, and add mozzarella cheese.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
This is one of those dishes that isn’t an exact science. You add what and how much you want and cook until it looks good. Also, you don’t have to have a partner, but the process is certainly speedier when you have one. Remember those quinoa onion rings I made? Similar assembly-line process. Set the fire alarm off because the rings in the pan were burning while I was dipping others in quinoa. If you do try making eggplant parmesan alone (or onion rings), don’t be in a rush: get a slice or two ready for the pan, cook them, take them out, and start again.
May I also take this time to share with you one of Z’s creations? You may find yourself with a decent amount of the egg mixture left over as well as some leftover breadcrumb mixture. Rather than throw these away, Z has created the all-new, breadcrumb-infused omelet. He simply mixes the remains of the two bowls together, throws them on the hot pan (after getting rid of the excess oil), and cooks it. He puts it on a plate, adds some spaghetti sauce and spices, and eats it. It’s really weird but also ridiculously tasty.