This is not your mother’s eggplant Parmesan. This Roman style, modernized version of the classic dish will reinvigorate your table.
My version is more eggplant salad than gooey, mushy eggplant dish. I crisp my slices of eggplant with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, then sandwich confit tomatoes, cheese (optional for pareve) and fresh basil leaves between the eggplant slices and top the eggplant with more tomatoes and basil.
Summer is the best time for eggplant.
- 6 ServingsServings
- 3 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise into 1 inch thick slices (you will need 12 slices)
- kosher salt for purging*
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 ½ cup unseasoned Panko breadcrumbs
- 24 fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup confit tomatoes, or favorite tomato sauce
- 24 slices mozzarella cheese (optional)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
- olive oil or canola oil for frying
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the eggplant slices on a wire rack or cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Heavily cover the eggplant slices, on both sides, with the kosher salt. Let the eggplant sit for one hour. (see below for explanation)
- Rinse off the salt and pat dry the eggplant thoroughly. Place the flour in a pie pan or container that can accommodate the eggplant. Place the eggs in a separate container. Place the breadcrumbs and fresh herbs in a third container.
- Heat a large sauté pan with about ½ inch of olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Place the eggplant in the flour and dredge to coat completely. Dip the eggplant in the eggs and finally in the breadcrumbs. Fry the eggplant in the hot oil until it is golden brown, flip and fry on the other side. Transfer the eggplant to a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Repeat the process until all the slices are browned.
- Transfer six eggplant slices to another sheet pan. Spoon three tablespoons of sauce on top of each slice. Top with one slice of mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Place a second slice of eggplant on top of each eggplant. Spoon additional sauce, more cheese and basil on top. Bake the eggplant until the cheese has melted (about 15 minutes). Serve with green salad and fresh herbs lightly dressed with extra virgin olive oil
*The practice of salting eggplant before cooking is not to remove bitter juices. Eggplants are made of mostly water held in small cells. Not removing the water before frying would result in soggy, greasy eggplant. By purging the cells of the water we remove the water and collapse the cells so they do not absorb the oil during frying. This keeps the eggplant crispy and keeps it from being greasy.