I saw the headline “Follow These Steps to the Best Eggplant Parm of your Life” (See original post here) and could not wait to make the recipe! I had it open on my phone for months, waiting until the stars aligned and I actually had eggplants as well as the time and the craving for it. As usual, I just can NOT seem to follow recipes – I’m allergic to them! But what I did realise in the process is that you can seriously cut some of the steps and ingredients and still come out with the best eggplant parmigiana of your life.
I’ve actually been craving making this dish since I first saw the Barefoot Contessa episode where Ina Garten makes it for her husband, Geoffrey. And I write ‘first’ saw it because I’m too embarrassed to admit how many times I have seen it. Apparently she made it for him on their first date.
These poor eggplants (or aubergines for my UK/Australian friends) had been sitting in the fridge for a week or more and I was just waiting for the right moment to make this recipe! Unfortunately I didn’t have anchovies or the can of tomatoes OR the mozzarella. And due to time constraints, I reduced the sauce cooking time by a whole 2 hours – butt let me tell you this still is the best eggplant parm of your bloody life.
I didn’t bother reading the recipe before I cooked it. Because well, kids. I did have a strong constitution on this particular day so decided to let Oscar help me prepare the eggplant slices. (Oh, and by the way I also did not have Panko, just regular breadcrumbs. But yes, this is still the best eggplant parm of your life.) Many messes and stresses later, I finally got to the part about letting the sauce cook in the oven for 2 hours, I was half an hour away from needing to get dinner on the table so just went with it!
My Changes to the Original Recipe
- I used 2 eggplants instead of 4 (and found it actually made a very large casserole)
- I used half a bulb of garlic not a whole
- No anchovies
- I didn’t have tomato paste, so used ketchup instead (virtually same thing!)
- Skipped the step of cooking sauce in the oven
- Regular breadcrumbs, not panko
- I used Colby cheese, as that is what I had, and it was delicious! However, I have included mozzarella in the recipe still.
- 2 large eggplants
- sea salt
- ¾ cup grated parmesan
- 1½ cups breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- olive oil
- ½ bulb garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup white wine
- 4 large tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup chopped parsley and basil
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- Cut into long slices, about ½ inch thick.
- Line a baking tray with paper towel and salt each side. Arrange in single layers with more paper towels in between the layers. Cover with another baking tray, then a heavy pot on top of that so that it weighs the slices down. Let sit for about an hour to drain.
- Sweat the garlic and onion together with some olive oil in a pot over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the white wine and continue cooking until it has evaporated by ¾.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and water then cook for another 10 minutes until broken down and sauce is bubbly and thickened. Set aside.
- Heat oven to 180C/350F
- Mix together the breadcrumbs, parmesan and oregano on a large plate.
- On another plate, add the eggs, and the flour on another plate.
- Coat each slice in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Set aside on a large plate or cutting board.
- To fry, heat a large frying pan with some olive oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. Set aside.
- Pour ⅓ of the sauce in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Layer the eggplant slices in a single layer, followed by ⅓ of the cheese, then some more sauce, and herbs.
- Repeat until all the sauce, eggplant and cheese has been used up - aim for 3 layers. Finish with some more cheese on top.
- Cover with foil, and cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and turn on grill/broiler let the top crisp for 5-7 further minutes.
- Let sit for 30 minutes before cutting.