Eleanora's Eggplant Parmigiana
Eleanora Scarpetta, a Martha Stewart Living viewer brought us this recipe for her version of the Italian classic. When buying eggplants, be sure to look for medium-size ones, as larger eggplants can be watery and bitter.
- 3 cups unseasoned, dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 14 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- Light olive oil, for frying
- Eleanora's Marinara Sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded, aged mozzarella
Preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside.
Combine breadcrumbs, basil, and parsley in a shallow dish. Place flour in a second shallow dish. In a third, larger, shallow dish, whisk together eggs and 1 cup pecorino Romano. Dip sliced eggplant in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip floured eggplant in egg mixture to coat both sides. Dip eggplant in seasoned breadcrumbs to lightly coat both sides. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 inch olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Fry eggplant in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the baking sheet lined with paper towels. (If excess breading burns in oil, or oil begins to burn, discard oil and begin again with fresh oil.)
In a 4-quart shallow baking dish, spread 1 cup marinara sauce evenly over bottom. Layer 1/4 of the eggplant slices to cover sauce. Spread 1 1/4 cups sauce evenly over eggplant. Sprinkle with 1 heaping teaspoon pecorino Romano, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella. Repeat procedure three times, omitting mozzarella in final layer.
Cover casserole with foil, and bake about 30 minutes, or until bubbling slightly. Remove foil, and sprinkle remaining shredded mozzarella over casserole. Bake until cheese is just melted. Allow to cool and set, about 20 minutes.