When I was growing up, Mama never fixed eggplant any way except for fried. When I was a late teen, she discovered a really rich, cheesy eggplant casserole [you tasted cream and cheese more than eggplant! The flavor of the eggplant was totally lost.]
Regardless of Mama’s efforts, I loved eggplant. Fried or in the casserole.
But in my adult years, I came to yearn for more recipes with eggplant; especially since I can no longer eat meats. So what’s a girl to do?
Here’s my take on eggplant parmesan; and I have to say…my family loves it.
1 medium, firm eggplant
1 medium jar pasta sauce [I like Ragu Chunky™]; divide into thirds.
1 container grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko crumbs
Non-stick cooking spray
1] Peel eggplant. Slice in rounds and place in colander over a bowl. Lightly salt and allow to set over the bowl for 1-hour. [This allows the “bitterness” to drain from the flesh.]
2] Pre-heat oven to 425-degrees.
3] After 1-hour, rinse eggplant and pat dry with paper toweling or clean tea towel.
4] Dip eggplant slices in egg, then roll in panko crumbs. Spray baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and place eggplant slices on baking pan and bake for approximately 20-minutes or until tender.
5] In a second baking pan, spray bottom of pan with cooking spray. Place a thin layer of pasta sauce in pan. Then place a single layer of eggplant . Cover with pasta sauce. Place a second layer of eggplant. Cover with remaining pasta sauce, and a layer of the parmesan cheese [use according to your taste].
6] Place pan in 425-degree oven and bake approximately 20-minutes, or until cheese has melted and just begins to darken on edges.
***I have added a layer of Portobello mushrooms to this dish as well.