Irresistible Eggplant Parmesan: A Classic Italian Comfort Dish

Irresistible Eggplant Parmesan: A Classic Italian Comfort Dish


Eggplant Parmesan is a beloved Italian-American dish that features layers of breaded and fried eggplant slices, marinara sauce, and melted cheese. It’s a hearty and flavorful meal perfect for family dinners or special occasions. The crispy eggplant combined with gooey cheese and robust tomato sauce creates a symphony of textures and savory flavors that are simply irresistible.

### Ingredients:
For the Eggplant:
– 2 large eggplants
– Salt (for drawing out moisture)
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 4 large eggs
– 1/4 cup milk
– 2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
– 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– Olive oil (for frying)

For the Marinara Sauce:
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 small onion, finely chopped
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cans (28 oz each) crushed tomatoes
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp dried basil
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 tsp sugar (optional, to balance acidity)

For Assembly:
– 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
– 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
– Fresh basil leaves (for garnish)

### Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the Eggplant
1. Slice the eggplants into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Sprinkle each slice generously with salt and place them in a colander. Let them sit for about 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture and bitterness.
2. Rinse the eggplant slices under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Bread the Eggplant
1. Set up a breading station with three shallow bowls: one with flour, one with beaten eggs mixed with milk, and the third with breadcrumbs mixed with grated Parmesan cheese.
2. Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, then dip in the egg mixture, and finally coat with breadcrumbs.

Step 3: Fry the Eggplant
1. In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 inch of olive oil over medium-high heat.
2. Fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Step 4: Make the Marinara Sauce
1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
3. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar (if using). Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5: Assemble the Dish
1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.
3. Arrange a layer of fried eggplant slices over the sauce. Top with more marinara sauce and a generous sprinkle of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese.
4. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a final layer of sauce and cheese.

Step 6: Bake the Eggplant Parmesan
1. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.
2. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy
1. Let the dish cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
2. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve with a side of pasta or a simple green salad.

Enjoy your Irresistible Eggplant Parmesan with friends and family for a delightful meal that’s sure to impress!