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Featured in our 2019 Christmas Guide

Servings: 8 to 10

For many Italian-American families, eggplant Parmesan is that heirloom recipe that tends to make an appearance at every important family gathering. This simple yet special casserole, rich with silken eggplant, tangy marinara, and gooey mozzarella, will surely grace many tables over the holidays. Even if your family lineage doesn’t trace back to Naples, this comfort food classic is perfect for group entertaining.

Ingredients

  • 5 lb. medium eggplant, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups peanut oil; more as needed
  • 1 32-oz. jar good-quality marinara sauce or your favorite homemade sauce
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, such as BelGioioso, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1-1/4 cups finely grated hard cheese, such as BelGioioso parmesan or American grana (about 5 oz.)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 550
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 420
  • Fat (g): 48
  • Saturated Fat (g): 14
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 12
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 19
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 1280
  • Carbohydrates (g): 19
  • Fiber (g): 7
  • Sugar (g): 10
  • Protein (g): 13

Preparation

  • Cut the eggplant crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put the slices in single layers between paper towels on rimmed baking sheets, sprinkling each layer lightly with the salt. Set aside for 1 hour.
  • Put 1/2 cup of the oil in a large skillet, and heat on medium until the oil shimmers. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Fry the eggplant in single layers in batches until light golden and soft in the center when pierced with a fork, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes per side. When the eggplant is tender, transfer to rimmed baking sheets lined with paper towels, replenishing the oil in the skillet as necessary.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F.
  • To assemble, spread about 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce evenly on the bottom of a 3-qt. 9×13-inch baking dish. Pat the eggplant with paper towels, and lay enough slices to cover the bottom of the baking dish in a single layer. Sparingly dollop 2 to 3 Tbs. of sauce on top of some of the eggplant slices, scatter a generous handful (about 3/4 cup) of the mozzarella over the eggplant, top evenly with some of the basil (about 1/4 cup), and then sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the grated cheese and a few grinds of pepper. Continue layering in this way until the final layer of eggplant is used. Finish with the remaining tomato sauce, grated cheese, and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 35 to 40 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tip

  • You can fry the eggplant ahead of time and store it overnight in the refrigerator. Line a rimmed baking sheet with an old clean kitchen towel. Line the towel with paper towels. Put the eggplant in a single layer on the paper towel. Continue stacking the remaining eggplant in layers on top of each other and separated by paper towels. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. This can be done up to 3 days ahead.
  • You can assemble the dish, bake it, cool it, and store it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic up to 3 days ahead. Rewarm gently in a 250°F oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.

Reviews

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Reviews (2 reviews)

  • vgoldin | 11/26/2019

    I made this tonight and it was great. You do have to like eggplant. I loved the balance of the sauce, cheese and eggplant. The only think to know before you make this recipe is that it takes a very long time to treat the eggplant and then fry the eggplant. I would also recommend a high quality mozzarella because it is definitely featured in this dish.

  • debm59 | 11/24/2019

    Not a fan of eggplant, I put I keep trying. And I tried this tonight. If I wasn’t so salty I would have actually liked it. Be careful when salting. I used the kosher salt sparingly but it was still way too much. Next time I would use sea salt and use even less. The key for me I think, was the peeling of the eggplant. I also found this very, very greasy. The eggplant really soaked up the peanut oil!

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