Eggplant is a delight. It’s a pretty underrated vegetable as far as I’m concerned. I feel like I should be eating way more of it, because every time I do, all I talk about is how good it is. And this baked eggplant parmigiana is a testament to that. Ry and I wouldn’t shut up about how good it was. I still haven’t.
Think layers upon layers of lightly fried, paper thin eggplant with melted fresh mozzarella, red sauce, plenty of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and one of my new faves, fried sage. (I fully support fried sage on everything right now. I’m loving it.) The whole thing is creamy, melty, salty and a little crunchy on the top. It’s perfect with a salad on the side dressed in a basic vinaigrette (recipe with a good vinaigrette is here) and even some pasta too. Depends on how hungry you are. I’m usually pretty hungry…
I used some pre-made jarred sauce here (a little low on time and energy lately) but you can certainly make your own. I’ve got a recipe for some red sauce right here. This whole process is super easy but it can be a little tedious since you need to lightly fry small batches of eggplant, but I promise it is totally 100% worth it. Make yourself a beverage, get everything prepped and enjoy the process. Know that you will be greatly rewarded for all your efforts.
Ry and I wouldn’t shut up about how good it was. I still haven’t.
If you have the time and space I would recommend making a double batch of this and freezing one casserole dish for later. Like I said before, it takes some time to fry up those eggplant slices. Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of layering it all up and baking what you want to eat now and then freezing what you’ll eat later.
Salad Dressings & Sauce
layered with crispy sage and fresh mozzarella
- 2 eggplants
- 2 tsp – Diamond Kosher Salt (~1 tsp/eggplant) adjust as needed based on the salt you’re using
- Tomato sauce (your fave jar or recipe here)
- 8oz Fresh Mozzarella
- ~4oz Parmigiano Reggiano – grated
- Sage – generous handful
- Olive oil
- S + P
Slice your eggplant about 1/4” (1/2cm) thick. Salt generously and let drain in a colander for a few hours. Anywhere from 1-3 hours is good. Rinse, squeeze out excess liquid and let dry off a bit more on a towel lined plate.
To fry, get a pan on medium heat and add in a few tablespoons of oil. You’re ready to add your eggplant when you see a slight shimmer to the oil. Coat each slice of eggplant in a light dusting of flour, immediately add to your pan and fry till golden and browned, about 2-3 mins per side. Keep an eye on em, you don’t want them to burn. Repeat for the rest of the eggplant slices, adding in more oil as needed and wipe out any burnt bits that accumulate between batches.
Once all the eggplant is fried, quickly add in your sage leaves to the pan and let them sizzle for about 20 – 30 seconds. It won’t take long to get them crisped and fragrant.
Now you’re ready to layer up. Get your over preheated to 350°F (175°C). Add in some sauce, a layer of eggplant, mozzarella, parmigano reggiano, some sage leaves and more sauce. Keep repeating till you’ve used up all that eggplant. For the top layer I suggest adding a little extra parmigiano.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Then, broil for a few mins at the end to get the top browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before digging in, this eggplant is lava hot right now. Your patience will be rewarded. Once the 10 minutes is up, dish it out, and eat up!