This wonderful Eggplant Parmesan recipe can be made Gluten Free, with homemade Tomato Sauce or bottled. Either way, this is a really delicious recipe, and leftovers can be frozen for easy lunches or dinners.
- 2 medium Eggplants , peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch round slices
- Kosher salt
- All-purpose Flour for dredging (You can use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)
- 5 Cups fresh breadcrumbs (I make my own Gluten Free Breadcrumbs by simply taking a whole loaf of Udi’s Gluten Free bread, putting it through a food processor and baking the crumbs with a tad of Sea Salt on baking sheets at 200 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, until they are good and dry)
- 1 Tablespoon dried Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon dried Thyme
- Freshly ground Black Pepper
- 6 large Eggs, beaten
- 2 Tablespoons whole milk or half & half
- High heat safe oil for frying, such as Peanut or Rice Bran Oil (available at Trader Joe’s)
- 7 Cups Marinara Sauce (Recipe follows) or bottled Marinara or Putenesca Sauce
- 2/3 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Pound Mozzarella Cheese (The higher quality the better)
Prepare the Marinara Sauce. If you are making your own Marinara Sauce, prepare it as directed below. If you are using bottle sauce, pour it into a sauce pan and heat it. There is no need to bring it to a boil.
Prepare the Eggplant Slices. Place the Eggplant Slices in a single layer on baking sheets lined with Parchment Paper, and sprinkle generously with Kosher Salt. Drape with kitchen towels and let sit for 30-60 minutes while the bitter juices emerge from the eggplants.
After 30-60 minutes, place the eggplant slices into a colander and rinse them well under cold water. Remove the eggplant slices to a work surface and dry them with kitchen or paper towels.
Prepare, coat and fry the Eggplant slices. You are going to dip the eggplant into flour, then an egg wash and finally bread crumbs before frying them. Place the flour in a 6 inch shallow bowl. Pour the beaten Eggs and milk into another 6 inch shallow bowl. Mix the Bread Crumbs, oregano, thyme and black pepper in a third 6 inch or large shallow bowl.
Line your baking sheets with fresh Parchment Paper. Taking one Eggplant slice at a time, dredge it through the flour, then dip it in the egg wash, making sure the Eggplant Slice is completed coated, then dredge the Eggplant slice through the Breadcrumbs, again making sure it is completely coated. Place the coated Eggplant slice on the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat until all of the Eggplant is coated. (Actually, to save a little time, I heat the oil while I am coating and begin frying the first batch while I am still coatng the last of the Eggplant slices.)
In a large cast iron pan or skillet (like the largest you have), pour the oil to a 1/2 inch depth. Heat the oil to 375 – 400 degrees. Place as many coated Eggplant slices as will comfortably fit into the pan and fry until they are golden brown on the bottom. Carefully flip the Eggplant and continue to fry until they are golden brown. Remove, allowing the oil to drip off, to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat until all the Eggplant is fried.
Assemble and bake your Eggplant Parmesan. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat a 15 x 10 x 2 inch baking dish with high heat oil. Assemble the dish for baking by covering the bottom of the dish with 1/3 of the Marinara Sauce. Arrange a single layer of the Eggplant on top of the Marinara Sauce, and cover the Eggplant slices with another 1/3 of the Marinara Sauce. Then place 1/2 the Parmesan Cheese and 1/2 Mozzarella Cheese over the sauced Eggplant. Place the remaining Eggplant on top of the sauce, followed by the remainder of the Marinara Sauce, and then the Parmesan and Mozzarella Cheese.
Now bake for about 30 minutes in your 400 degree oven, until the sauce is bubbling on the side and the cheese on top is beautifully browned. Bon Appetite. Freeze what you don’t eat in meal sized portions.
Marinara Sauce Recipe
- 2 (28 Ounce) cans of whole Italian tomatoes (I try to get good San Marzano)
- 1/3 Cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1/2 Cup Black Olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 Teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 3 Tablespoons Capers
- 1/4 Cup fresh Basil leaves, torn or sliced
- Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
Place a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the Olive Oil. Add a couple grinds of Black Pepper, let it cook for about 15 seconds, then add the Garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the Olives, Hot Pepper flakes and Capers and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
Now the fun, messy part. Add the Tomatoes by squishing the whole Tomatoes through your fingers, into the pan, one at a time. Then add all the extra juice from the cans. (I suppose you could do this in a less messy way, using some sort of utensil to crush the Tomatoes, but I like the old fashioned way)
Bring the sauce to a low simmer, add the Basil plus any Salt and Pepper you think it needs (it doesn’t), then remove from the heat, cover and set aside.