Breading and Frying
- 2 cups fine plain fresh breadcrumbs (see tip below)
- 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
- Marinara Sauce (http://www.marthastewart.com/306923/marinara-sauce)
- 3 cups coarsely grated mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
- 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
- Bread and fry the eggplant: Combine breadcrumbs, pecorino Romano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some pepper. Put flour, eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in 3 separate dishes. Dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Dredge in breadcrumbs to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.
- Heat oil in large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (Oil is ready when a breadcrumb sizzles when dropped in.) Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. (If oil gets too dirty, discard, and heat an additional 1/4 cup.)
- Assemble the dish: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of eggplant on top, overlapping slightly. Top with 1 cup sauce. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup pecorino Romano. Repeat twice to form layers with eggplant, sauce, then cheeses. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes more.
Making breadcrumbs is easy and inexpensive.
Grate day-old bread against the large holes
of a box grater, chop it with a bread knife, or
pulse pieces in a food processor. Store in an
airtight container for up to 2 weeks.