Don’t Be Afraid of Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite things to eat, but I have been hesitant to order it at a restaurant I’m unfamiliar with, and until recently, I was terrified to cook it. Do you even have to ask why? When eggplant goes wrong, it goes really wrong. It can be mushy or bitter, and can ruin an otherwise great dish. It wasn’t until I finally decided to bit the bullet and make it myself that I realized it’s not so hard to do.

The trick seems to be salting the eggplant for anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to pull out the moisture and make the eggplant a firmer, drier base from which to begin cooking. So, below is the tried-and-true Joy of Cooking eggplant parmesan recipe, with extra instructions at first on how to salt and drain the eggplant.

Remove stem and cap, as well as skin, with a knife. Cut unto ½ inch thick slices, and place them on a baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and let stand for 30-60 minutes. Rinse off salt, and press the eggplant in a towel to remove excess juice.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Brush the above eggplant slices with olive oil
Season to taste with:
Salt and black pepper
Place on a baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes, turning once.
Remove eggplant to a plate, and coat the baking sheet with 3 cups tomato sauce. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer, overlapping if necessary, on the baking sheet. Top with 2 more cups tomato sauce and:
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine and sprinkle over the eggplant:
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
2/3 cup grated parmesan
Sprinkle over the top:
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve at once.


4 replies on “Don’t Be Afraid of Eggplant Parmesan”

Eggplant really is either fabulous or horrible. The first few times I had it, I was in my college’s dining hall and it was really awful. But I’ve made it in a pasta dish with kale and onion and it was really delicious.

Eggplant Parm is my favorite food in the whole wide world. The only thing that can ruin it? Bad red sauce. Seriously. Not adding enough spices or adding too many is critical with this dish. Also- lots of cheese. The more cheese the better.

God I’m so hungry right now.

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