This Italian-American classic doesn't have to be heavy. We kept the breadcrumb coating light and delicate so that the eggplant's flavor can shine.
Everyday Food, September 2009
- Prep Time 45 minutes
- Total Time 2 hours
- Serves 6
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 large globe eggplants (about 2 pounds total), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 pound whole fresh mozzarella, cut into large chunks
- In a food processor, puree tomatoes; transfer to a medium saucepan and stir in olive oil. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 30 minutes. Season tomato sauce with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Press slices between a double layer of paper towels to dry. Dredge eggplant in flour (shaking off excess), then dip in eggs (allowing excess to drip off), and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet; set aside. In a large skillet, pour enough vegetable oil to come halfway up side. Heat oil over medium-high until pinch of breadcrumbs dropped in skillet sizzles. In batches, fry eggplant until golden, 2 to 3 minutes per side; transfer to rack to drain.
- Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer half the eggplant over sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Top with 1 1/2 cups sauce, then remaining eggplant. Finish with remaining sauce, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and mozzarella. Bake until lightly browned and bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.
- To Freeze: Assemble dish but do not bake; wrap tightly with foil and freeze, up to 3 months. Thaw completely, then bake as directed.
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