Posted by Parmesan.com
This recipe for baked eggplant Parmesan is also known as Neapolitan eggplant Parmesan. Baked eggplant Parmesan is different from other eggplant Parmesan recipes in that beaten eggs are added to the tomato sauce. When the eggplant Parmesan is baked, the sauce sets very much like custard and the resulting dish can be cut into wedges like a savory tart. The beautifully browned Parmigiano Reggiano® cheese topping is deliciously flavorful and crunchy and makes for a crowd-pleasing presentation. Baked eggplant Parmesan is wonderful eaten warm or at room temperature, making it a good dish for a summer picnic or a potluck meal dinner any time of the year. Grilling or broiling the eggplant is the best way to prepare it for this recipe.
Another tip: If you would like your baked eggplant Parmesan to look like a savory tart, try making it in a deep pie plate instead of a rectangular casserole. And whether you use homemade Simple Tomato Sauce or one that you buy, for best results with this baked eggplant Parmesan recipe make sure your sauce is smooth, not chunky.
Prep Time - 2 hours | Cooking Time - 1 hour
1. Wash the eggplants, remove the crowns, and slice each eggplant into 3/8-inch slices. To help drain some of the natural water from the eggplant, follow this process: Put a double layer of paper towels on a baking sheet, place half of the eggplant slices in a single layer on the paper towels, and liberally sprinkle with kosher salt. Cover with another double layer of paper towels. Repeat the same process with a second baking sheet and the rest of the eggplant. When finished, stack the second baking sheet on top of the first. On top of the second baking sheet, rest a third sheet and weigh it down with something heavy like a large cooking pot filled with water. Let the eggplant slices sit and be pressed for an hour.
2. Depending on how you are cooking the eggplant, turn on the broiler, or heat the oven to 425° F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with a thin coating of olive oil spray and lay a single layer of eggplant slices on the baking sheets. Season them with salt and pepper. Spray the slices on both sides with olive oil spray or brush them with some olive oil.
3. Bake the eggplant under the broiler or in the oven until it is browned but still firm, about 8 minutes per side under the broiler, or 10 minutes per side in the oven. If using a panini grill, season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper and spray both sides with a thin layer of olive oil spray, or brush with a little olive oil. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, until both sides have grill marks and the slices have softened.
4. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Combine the tomato sauce and the beaten eggs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir well.
5. In the bottom of a 9 x 14 x 2-inch casserole dish, spread one cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Layer half of the prepared eggplant slices on top, slightly overlapping them to make them fit. Cover with half the Mozzarella and a third of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Spread half of the remaining tomato sauce over the two cheeses, then layer the remaining eggplant slices over the sauce. Add the rest of the Mozzarella and another third of the Parmigiano Reggiano. Top with the last of the tomato sauce and sprinkle on the rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
6. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden. The eggplant will be cooked, but not overcooked and falling apart. Cover loosely with foil and let stand for at least 15 minutes before serving.