Source: Mom, cir. 1970’s
Mom’s eggplant parmesan
Since forever my mom has been making her eggplant parmesan. When I knew she was making this dish, I was always close by to nibble on the fried eggplant. There were times when she almost didn’t have enough for her dish, but somehow we always made it work.
I love the texture of eggplant, in fact, it’s one of my favorite vegetables. Once referred to as the “Mad Apple”, several hundred years ago, this lovely veg was actually feared and thought to be poisonous, hence the name (mad apple). Luckily, it only took a few centuries to ditch that bad reputation. I love this vegetable in so many ways, but this post is about the traditional Sicilian dish.
EPP is really a simple dish, as most Italian cuisine is very reflective of the simple lifestyles of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Summer heat, long warm days, all wonderful for the diversity the region offers. But, EPP is a multi-step process. The cutting (for sweating the veg), the battering, the fry, the assembly. Don’t forget, a delicious EPP requires a wonderful red sauce to accompany. Don’t forget this step, as it is essential in pulling the flavors of this dish together.
Eggplant, also called aubergine in many regions of Europe, can be steamed, stir-fried, pan fried, deep fried, roasted, stewed, curried, or pickled. Many eggplant dishes are sauces made by mashing the cooked veg. Many cultures stuff this lovely little veg, but the smaller varieties of course.
- 2 medium eggplants sliced about 1/2″ thick
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 2 packs Mozzarella cheese
- 1 to 2 TBS parmigiano reggiano cheese grated, to sprinkle on top.
- Wash and peel the eggplant, then slice in circle shapes. Be sure your slices are no wider than ½” and try to keep them all the same size for even cooking. Lay them all out on a wooden board, and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt-this sweats them, thus making them better for frying, and it only takes an extra 5 min.
- Once the eggplant have sweated, dab them off with a paper towel or two to remove excess water.
- Prepare 2 bowls: In one bowl, mix up the eggs for dipping, in the other bowl (pie dish) fill the crumbs.
- fine to medium bread crumbs work just as good as a panko style crumb.
- Heat oil (about ½”) in pan and begin to dip the sliced eggplant in egg mixture, then layer the breadcrumbs on the eggplant. Once well coated, place into pan with temperature ready for frying. Fry pieces, then layer fried pieces in a deep baking dish.
- Begin first with 1 ladle of sauce on the bottom of baking dish. Place fried eggplant pieces covering the bottom layer of the dish. Place a quarter to fifty cent size of cheese on top of each piece of eggplant. Once first layer if complete, add another ladle of sauce on top. Begin the next layer, and continue until fried eggplant is finished. This is usually 2-3 layers high-like a lasagna method.
- When all assembled, put in the pre-heated oven (200C) and cook for about 20 min., or until top is golden and bubbly.