This is the eggplant parmigiana that I was born to make. It is a proper, traditional, and very good eggplant parm.
It just isn't mine.
For reasons that I cannot quite explain, my method has long been to roast the eggplant, not to bread and fry it the way you are supposed to. (Here's my roasted recipe if, like me, you are moved to travel a different path).
I don't know what caused me to break from the elders in this matter. It's painful. We don't talk about. So please don't ask. Let's just get to the recipe, shall we.
To prepare an old school version of "the parm" you will of course need a large, firm eggplant. But having a close relation who has been around long enough to have attended the old school is even more useful. I've got Aunt Anna in my life, and she happens to enjoy cooking for me. Her simple eggplant parm is the best that I know, and so that is the recipe we will be going with here.
The eggplant is skinned and cut into quarter-inch-thick slices, which are dredged in plain breadcrumbs.
This is the (as yet unmixed) egg wash that follows the breading stage. (The cheese and lots of fresh parsley are key to this parm's perfection, I'm pretty sure.)
Dip the breaded slices in the mixed egg wash and into the hot olive oil they go.
Let the golden slices rest on paper towels to drain some of the oil.
Dip the slices in marinara sauce, line them in a baking dish, add a little mozzarella on top of each slice, then repeat the layers until you're out of eggplant.
Top the whole thing off with some more sauce and into the oven it goes.
I don't like my eggplant parm hot out of the oven. I like it at room temperature, and so that is how I enjoyed this one with my aunt.
It's better that way.
If you don't believe me, ask her.
Anna's Eggplant Parmigiana
1 large eggplant, skinned and cut crosswise in 1/4-inch slices
Breadcrumbs for dredging
Olive oil for frying
1/2 lb. mozzarella, cut in thin slices
16 oz. marinara sauce of your choosing
5 extra large eggs
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese
Drop of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl mix together the eggs, parsley, cheese, salt, pepper and water.
Dredge each eggplant slice in breadcrumbs, then in the egg wash.
Fry the eggplant in the olive oil until golden brown on both sides, then remove to paper towels.
Dip slices one at a time in marinara sauce and arrange in a baking dish until the bottom is covered.
Add a layer of cheese atop the slices, then repeat the layers until the eggplant and the cheese are used up.
Bake 30-45 minutes, allow to cool a bit, and serve.