It turns out that eggplant parmesan is just as delicious as its chicken cousin. And, despite the egregious amount of olive oil, you won't fry eggplant or use noodles in this recipe, so it's basically health food. Don't believe me? Give it a try. Also, no, there’s no parmesan cheese in this recipe. It’s just mozzarella. And I feel GREAT about it.
Time: 45 minutes, plus 60 minutes of eggplant-salting time
1 large eggplant, sliced thinly
2 cups of breadcrumbs
1 cup of olive oil, divided
5 cups of fresh tomato sauce
1 glug of red wine (optional, but encouraged)
8 oz of fresh mozzarella
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
Space the eggplant slices out evenly on a cookie sheet (or two). Salt generously, then place another cookie sheet on top. Stack books, bags of flour, bricks, or yourself on top of the cookie sheet on top, then walk away for an hour. If you've been watching the new season of The Great British Bake Off and you're thinking about how well the word "fiddly" applies to this step, please know that if you skip it, you sacrifice quality, and I can't be responsible for that.
Wow, who knew eggplant had so much liquid in it? I DID. That's why I made you dry it out a bit before moving on. You're welcome. Anyway. Remove eggplant from the cookie sheet and set aside. Also, preheat the oven to 385.
Make the breadcrumb filling: mix the breadcrumbs with about a half cup of olive oil, a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, and a half teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Set aside.
And we're layering. In a deep 9 1/2 x 13” cake pan or a 9” springform pan, space eggplant out evenly. Drizzle olive oil on top of the eggplant, then spread about one-third of the breadcrumb mixture on top of the slices.
Repeat two times. Or one if you overshot the eggplant early in the game.
Top the eggplant and breadcrumb slices with the fresh tomato sauce, the optional glug of wine (yep, right in the pan, kid), and mozzarella.
Cover with tin foil, then bake for 20 minutes.
Take foil off, turn oven to broil, and leave it or 10 more minutes to brown on top, thereby providing you with one of life's greatest pleasures, crispy, burnt cheese.
Top with basil, thinly sliced. Devour. Messily.