As a first-generation Italian, my Grandma Lorraine believed that food is what helps people bond and share memories. A fabulous meal and good company creates friendship, love, and laughter. And, as most Grandmas are, I believe she was right.
My favorite memories of my Grandma are when she was wearing her red apron and cooking a meal. She would teach me all of the recipes her mother taught her as a little girl. I remember sitting at her kitchen table watching her salt the eggplant, making homemade sauce, and chatting away about our family history.
One of my favorite meals she used to make me was Eggplant Parmesan. In honor of her love of sharing a meal, I am going to share my take on my Grandma's recipe.
- Prep Time:25 mins
- Cook Time:15 mins
- Total Time:40 mins
- 2 eggplants
- 3 cups Italian bread crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 8oz fresh mozzarella
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Italian seasoning
- Crushed red pepper
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 1 jar tomato sauce
- Extra virgin olive oil cold-pressed preferred
After washing the eggplants, peel the skin off and cut them in thin slices (lengthwise). The slices should be no more than 1/8 inch thick.
Taking a generous amount of salt, rub each side of the slices. Let them sit out on a cutting board for 15 min, then rinse gently and pat dry with a paper towel. You will notice that the eggplants are leaking water, this means it is working.
#SpoonTip: This is the most important step, my Grandma used to say. This allows the eggplant to get tender.
In a shallow bowl, beat eggs and add a sprinkle of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Dip each slice in the egg mixture then into the bread crumbs. When you do this, it makes it easier to designate one hand as the "egg hand" and the other as the "bread crumb hand." This way you can eliminate having really soggy bread crumbs.
In a large skillet, pour olive oil so it thinly covers the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place your slices in with tongs. Avoid overcrowding the pan.
Fry each side until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Use tongs when flipping and removing the eggplant from the pan, it prevents the bread crumbs from falling off.
After removing each batch, replace the olive oil with a fresh batch. This makes a huge difference in the taste of your eggplant.
My Grandma used to make homemade sauce with it, but to save time I think amplifying your typical jar sauce is fine too. In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter, garlic, dash of crushed red pepper, and oregano. Heat for 2-3 minutes. This is what alters your jar sauce.
Pour the jar of sauce in and add half of your shredded Parmesan and any additional salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to your liking. Heat until warm.
Add a thin layer of sauce to your oven-safe dish, then a layer of eggplant. Follow that with a thin layer of sauce and some of your fresh and shredded cheeses. Repeat this until your final layer of eggplant. In this final stage, add the remaining shredded cheese, then a layer of sauce, followed by the last bit of your fresh cheese.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F until the sauce begins to bubble. Then enjoy with your friends and family, just like Grandma used to!
The best thing about this recipe is it tastes even better as leftovers and can be frozen for later. I hope this helps create lasting memories with friends and family like it has for me.