Best Eggplant Parmesan

Best Eggplant Parmesan
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 5-6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
I have tried several variations of eggplant parm recipes and adjusted them until I came up with a version I love. It seems a bit complicated but particularly since it doesn't require that you fry the eggplant, it's more simple than it looks and with some forethought, you can do it in stages, making the process seem much shorter. I salt and drain the eggplant in the morning, make my sauce at naptime and then all I have to do it put it all together before I bake it. Roasting instead of frying the eggplant also makes it faster and safer to prepare with the kids around. When I used to fry it, it was tasty, but usually tasted too oily and took waaaay too long. And it's healthier this way! I'm going to be very detailed in my instructions because when I try a new recipe, I want to be sure I know what I'm doing, but if it seems complex the first time, by the second you'll have it down.
  • 3 large or 4 sm/med eggplants
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cans of whole tomatoes (the best you can find, preferably imported from Italy-an get them at some supermarkets)
  • ½ onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • mozzarella and parmesan cheeses (the best you can find, so with mozzarella, the freshest you can get and for the parm, buy the most expensive you can find in a wedge, preferably parmigianno-reggiano and grate it yourself, not the pregrated stuff if you can avoid it.)
  • basil leaves, torn (1/4 cup or so)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to about 400. Slice eggplants about ¾ inch thick or more and stack them in your biggest colander, salting each layer.
  2. When they're all in, place a big plate on top and something really heavy on the plate to weigh it down
  3. Let that sit for an hour so all the water drains out of the eggplant. As you remove the eggplant, dry it off with a cloth or paper towels on both sides
  4. Pour several tablespoons of olive oil onto your cookie sheet and spread it around with your fingers. Place your eggplant slices on it making sure that side gets covered in oil.
  5. Then if you have a bottle that has a slow pour, drizzle some olive oil on the other side of each slice, but not too much. Salt and pepper each slice.
  6. Put them in the oven to roast for about 15 minutes, then turn them over and roast again. They should be very soft and each side should be a little browned.
  7. To make the sauce, chop about two cloves of garlic and half and onion and sautee in a few tablespoons olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  8. Add tomatoes (if you use whole, blend the mixture with a hand blender)
  9. Add a bunch of torn basil leaves (6-10) and lots of salt.
  10. Let your sauce cook for a good 30-45 minutes or until it's thick and no longer runny. You can be hard-boiling your two eggs in the meantime (cover them with water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, remove heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add salt to the water to make them easier to peel.)
  11. For the cheeses, if your mozzarella is wet and milky, slice thinly in pieces about 2 inches in diameter. If it's more dry, you can grate it with a big grate.
  12. Once your sauce is ready, just layer into a pan at least 3-4 inches deep. First a little sauce, then eggplant, then slices of hardboiled egg(just a little), then sauce, mozzarella and grated parmesan.
  13. Repeat and end with sauce, a good amount of mozzarella and parm. You don't need the sauce to cover each layer or eggplant because you have multiple layers. Less is more...also with the cheese, but you can more more generous on the top layer of cheese.
  14. Bake uncovered until it's very bubbly and all the eggplant seems totally soft and hot when you stick a knife into the middle of the pan. I like it really cooked well.
  15. Note: Buy the best parmesan you can find. NO Kraft please and try to find a wedge, not the pre-grated stuff. In the end, depending on your supermarket, use what you can find. And use the highest quality canned tomatoes you can find...preferably from Italy. I know this all sounds really picky, but the quality of your ingredients make or break your dish.


About Cristina


  1. Do you peel the eggplant?

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