My husbands Italian and loves eggplant, he grew up with his mom making eggplant parm all the time. So it was a dish I really wanted to learn to make, I was fortunate that she was able to teach me her recipe before she passed away in 2012. Cooking is so much more than just fueling our bodies, in our house it's time together having fun. Even if it doesn't turn out like the picture or taste quite right, it's all about the effort. Besides what's the worst case scenario....it's terrible and you order pizza? :)
Disclaimer: This recipe takes time and makes several dishes to wash. Don't get me wrong it's 100% worth it but it will consume a few hours.
(This is one place you could cut time by using jars of your favorite sauce)
1-2 vidalia onion - finely chopped
2-3 Garlic cloves - minced or thin slice
Sweet Basil - 6-10 leaves
Thyme - a couple sprigs
6 cans of San Marzano tomatoes * Note the can in photo for brand (if you can’t find this brand use another good quality, it makes a huge difference)
Make that gravy, aka sauce:
Using a large stock pot, chop and sauté onion and garlic, when soft add canned tomatoes. I use a mix of whole, crushed and diced for a chunky texture (for a smooth sauce use a blender then pour tomatoes into your stock pot). Add salt to taste and cook on low heat for at least 1 hr, add thyme (on the stick and remove b/f serving), chiffonade a hand-full of sweet basil and cook for another hour.
4-6 Eggplants - based on how many ppl you're feeding and how big the egg plant is
2 C Flour
6 Eggs + 1/3 C water mixed together.
Salt and Pepper
1 lb Fresh Mozzarella (at least) - this is for later when we start layering
While sauce is cooking down prepare the eggplant:
Peel eggplant and slice (1/4 inch), lay on a towel and sprinkle w/salt. Dab with paper towel to remove moisture that will accumulate.
Arrange assembly line of flour (w/salt and pepper), egg wash and unseasoned breadcrumbs. Heat a large skillet with olive oil.
Dip eggplant slice into flour, egg then breadcrumbs, shaking off any extra, place slices in the a hot skillet of olive oil.
When golden brown on both sides remove and place on a paper towel to cool.
Once all slices have been browned begin layering in a baking dish.
Spray your baking dish with Pam (or similar) spoon and spread out a small amount of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer in eggplant (overlapping a little), more sauce then layer thin slices of fresh mozzarella. Repeat the layers, eggplant, sauce, mozzarella until you reach the top of the baking dish. *Optional – add Parmesan cheese to the layers as well.
Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 30 min, then broil for 3-5 min to brown the cheese. Let cool 10 min before cutting and serving.
Serve with warm, crusty bread!