We had an earthquake here the night before last and to be honest I didn’t know what to do with myself and was rather uneasy being in my own home. There was an eggplant sitting on the counter and I went to work. Here’s what I made. That first bite was so comforting and I was back at ease and not afraid.
I medium eggplant- cut crosswise into about 12 1/2” slices
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs* (1 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic, 1/2 tsp salt)
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
6 ounces of shredded best quality mozzarella cheese
1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup or more olive oil for frying and drizzling on bottom of baking dish
Preheat oven to 350F.
Slice the eggplant and arrange on tray. Sprinkle with salt and let them “sweat” about 10 minutes on each side. Repeat the salting on the second side. This helps remove any bitterness.
Create a dredging station. Beaten egg in one dish,seasoned breadcrumbs or panko in another and a place to lay out those ready for the skillet. Coat the slices one at a time in the egg then dip them in the breadcrumbs. Set aside
Heat a large skillet and add about 1/4 cup when its hot add as many slices you can fit. Saute until deep golden brown and do the same on the second side. Add oil when needed to fry additional slices. Remove and stack until all are fried up and ready to build. If you find loose breadcrumbs in the frying pan, carefully remove them with a paper towel between batches and heat new oil.
In a small baking dish spread a tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom followed by approximately 1/2 cup of marinara sauce. Create the first layer of cooked eggplant slices. Top each one about 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella, a pinch of salt and some sprinkled grated parmesan. Add a second layer of eggplant and do the same only starting with a good size schmear of marinara sauce. Add the last layer of eggplant, starting with a small amount of sauce followed by the cheeses. Fill in the remaining marinara or as much as you like in between the eggplant stacks. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additonal 10 minutes. For some pretty color, you can finish it under the broiler with a watchful eye.