I’ve grown to like eggplant over the years- maybe it’s being married to an eggplant lover. It’s all about the texture for me, which actually might not be true since I love it mushy in the form of bhartha but can’t stand baba ganoush– you figure it out.
I have been using this recipe for so long now that I don’t think I can go back to the traditional method of frying the eggplant ever again. This is one of my husband’s favorite things that I make and I think that makes it even more special.
- 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 eggs (or 1 egg + 2 egg whites)
- cooking spray or olive oil
- 1 (25 ounce) jar of tomatoe sauce (homemade or store bought)
- 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
- 2/3 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (chopped or torn)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together Panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Dip an eggplant round on both sides in the whisked egg mixture, then immediately dip it in the breadcrumb mixture until the eggplant is completely coated, then set on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant rounds until they are all evenly spaced on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 8-inch baking dish. Place half of the eggplant in an even layer along the bottom of the baking dish. Spread an additional 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant. Then sprinkle 1 cup Mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce, followed by 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, followed by 1/4 cup of the fresh basil. Repeat with another layer of the remaining eggplant, then tomato sauce, then Mozzarella, then Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges, and the sauce is bubbly. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Serve immediately.
I like having this with spaghetti and my husband’s homemade cheesy garlic bread. Yes, he makes his own bread- from scratch- and it’s divine.