Baked Aubergine Parmesan

I love this aubergine (eggplant) parmesan because it is baked, not fried, resulting in a less heavier dish that still packs tons of flavour. I’ve tested it using both panko and regular breadcrumbs and both Ryan and I prefer it with panko- it yields a crispier bite. I also highly recommend sweating the eggplant before baking this dish for tender, flavourful eggplant without the sogginess.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 large Italian eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 3/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large pasture-raised organic eggs
  • Avocado oil cooking spray (I like Chosen Foods)
  • 1 660ml jar tomato sauce (I like Rao’s Marinara)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a large baking sheet with avocado oil and set aside.
  2. Whisk together eggs in a wide, shallow bowl and add 2 tablespoons water.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the panko, 1/4 cup parmesan, oregano, and basil.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Dip the eggplant slices into the eggs, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in panko mixture, making sure all of the sides are coated. Place on baking sheet (don’t overcrowd).
  5. Bake the eggplant slices until golden brown on bottom, ~25 minutes.
  6. Flip the slices and continue baking until browned on other side, another 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and raise the heat to 400 F. Meanwhile, mix 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes into the sauce.
  8. Spread 2 cups sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and arrange half of the eggplant on top. Repeat and then add 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
  9. For the final layer repeat with remaining eggplant slices, sauce, and mozzarella.
  10. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.
  11. Garnish with parsley and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.

NOTES

*About an hour before assembling the eggplant parmesan, line a large baking sheet with paper towels and set aside. Wash and slice the eggplant, sprinkling both sides with a good amount of kosher salt and assemble on prepared baking tray. Let sit for at least 1 hour. Rinse both sides of the eggplant and pat dry. This is called “sweating the eggplant”- removing excess moisture and bitterness, ensuring that the eggplant won’t be soggy once baked with the other ingredients. This step isn’t crucial but I highly recommend it.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

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