I gotta be honest. I'm not really a fan of eggplant. I know, what kind of Italian am I? I mean, I'll eat it, but it's not at the top of my list.
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My kid on the other hand, well that's a different story. He will eat it til he is about to burst. He insists my fried eggplant is the best in the universe (and he's not the only one).
Like I said, I could take it or leave it. However, one way I WILL eat it is if it's smothered with cheese and tomato sauce. Actually, who am I kidding, I'd eat crap if it was smothered in fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. Okay, that' an exaggeration, but I believe I have made my point.
I notice a lot of my friends always beg me to make this dish. I never understood why, when it's really a breeze to make. Maybe it's just my recipe? I don't weigh it down with a Sunday gravy type sauce, I like to use a light and robust tomato basil sauce that compliments the fried eggplant, not drowns it. Perhaps that's what makes mine so delicious to everyone. Lucky for you, I'm sharing the recipe and now YOU can make it too!!
Eggplant Parmigiana w/ Chunky Tomato Basil Sauce
1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced into 1 inch thick slices
3 beaten eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
olive oil, for frying
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
fresh parsley, garnish
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper, q.b.
In a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pot, heat 2 TBSP olive oil and toast red pepper flakes. Add garlic and sautee until translucent and fragrant.
Pour tomatoes into a bowl and crush up with your hands. Add to pot and simmer on medium. Add 1 cup of beef stock, fresh basil and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered while you prepare your eggplant.
To prepare eggplant, cut off the very top and bottom of the eggplant and peel with a vegetable peeler. Slice the eggplant into 1 inch thick discs. Place eggplant slices into flour, then egg, then breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until all eggplant is coated. Place in the refrigerator uncovered for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil (about 1/4 of the way up of a 12 inch skillet) to about 325 degrees. Remove eggplant from refrigerator and place in hot oil. Fry on both sides until golden brown.
Coat the bottom of a large pyrex dish with a layer of tomato basil sauce. Lay fried eggplant on an angle, slightly overlapping in the dish. Top lightly with tomato basil sauce and add sliced fresh mozzarella on each piece of eggplant. Add a little drizzle of sauce on top of the mozzarella and some fresh parsley for garnish.
Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly. Enjoy!!!
Krissi Biasiello is a native of South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cooking since she was a little girl with her large Italian family, she decided to leave her paralegal job and shoot for the stars on FOX’s cooking competition show, MasterChef. She beat out 33,000 homecooks across America and came in 4th place. Under the scrutiny of Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich, Krissi has made her mark in the culinary world. She now shares her recipes with all of you! Her rustic, homestyle take on everything will win you over and will definitely “get your asses in the kitchen”.