I love this recipe, but I recognize that fried eggplant isn’t the heathiest way to go…so I’ll be trying a baked-only version sometime soon, and I’ll let you know how it turns out!
- Olive oil, for baking sheets
- 3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs (or the pre-spiced “Italian Breadcrumbs,” and skip the next two ingredients)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and ground pepper
- 2 large eggplants, (2 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 3 cups (more or less) Tomato Sauce (can make your own or use store-bought)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (or mixed “Mexican” cheese–I’ve used it all)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a wide, shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, spices if using, and season with salt and pepper.
Peel eggplants in stripes (this is to get rid of some of the chewy skin but not all of it, as the skin helps hold the eggplant together as it is fried. If you don’t mind the chewiness, just wash the eggplant). Slice into 1/2 inch think rounds. I usually slice on the diagonal to get larger pieces of eggplant; you can still fry the small “leftover” pieces to eat while waiting for the rest to cook!
In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat. (On the oil, use olive, vegetable, what have you. If you must, use spray oil, but recognize that the lovely golden crunchy exterior come from being well-fried!)
Dip an eggplant slice in breadcrumb mixture, coating well; slide into hot oil and fry for approximately 5 mins on each side, or until breadcrumb mixture browns. As you remove each slice, place on a baking sheet.
Once you’ve fried all the eggplant, top each round with a dollop (or more, to your taste) of tomato sauce and some cheese. Put into the 375 degree oven. Bake until golden brown on bottom, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn slices; continue baking until browned on other side, 20 to 25 minutes more.
Serve with pasta; add extra tomato sauce if desired or just sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the top.