Prep 1 hr 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
My father and I usually team up to make this at Christmas. It is time consuming but just a crispy, excellent eggplant.
- 2 eggplants, cut 1/4 inch widthwise
- 6 -8 eggs, beaten and seasoned with dried parsley (add more as needed)
- 1⁄4 cup cornstarch (add more as needed)
- 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs (add more as needed)
- olive oil (for frying, pure or light)
- 28 ounces marinara sauce
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese, per layer
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, per layer
- In a clean sink, place eggplant slices in a collander in a single row, as many as can fit, sprinkle with sea salt. Do this until all the eggplant is layered on top of each other, salting each layer.
- Take a clean plate and lay it on top of the eggplant and weight the plate down with anything handy. It just has to be heavy enough to purge the bitter water out of the eggplant. It will take about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, prep your pans for the finished fried eggplant. Line an 11x17 baking sheet(s)with paper towels. Check on eggplant when the hour is up.
- At this point, you should see black water collected at the bottom of the collander. Rinse the eggplant and pat dry, set aside.
- Set up 3 equal size bowls. Put the cornstarch in one, the egg mixture in one and the breadcrumb in one, replenishing as they run low.
- Coat the eggplant in cornstach 1st, the egg mixture second and the breadcrumbs last.
- Fill a large, high sided pan with olive oil about 1/2 inch deep. VERY CAREFULLY heat olive oil. You can use a thermometer for this but it should be about 350-370 degrees.
- Once the oil is hot enough, CAREFULLY slide the eggplant into the oil and cook until one side is golden, about 2 minutes. CAREFULLY turn eggplant over and do the same on the other side.
- Retrieve cooked eggplant carefully with a spider,(its an metal weave spatula with a wood handle, poor heat conducter) and place on paper towels. Do this until all the eggplant is fried.
- Don't even THINK about touching the remaining oil for at least 90 minutes.
- Now it's time to assemble. coat the bottom of a 9x13 pan with marinara sauce, then add a layer of eggplant. Have them overlap slightly, then add grated cheese and mozzerella to cover the top of the eggplant, then repeat: Sauce, eggplant, cheese until the eggplant is all used.
- Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggplant is heated.
Thanks for an excellent recipe. Salting the eggplant is key, and even with this step, it is a simple recipe. I used my Marinara (recipe posted) and feel that a homemade, authentic sauce is far better than a store-bought version.
Not only is this recipe great on its own (a great substitute for meat), but it is amazing as the only filling in a nice grilled pannini.