Eggplant Parmesan, Simplified

Next to ratatouille, eggplant parmesan is my  favorite way to eat one of summer’s grand vegetables, and a good excuse for growing eggplants. I have assembled it in casseroles, baked, then carved the result into blocks of deliciousness to serve. The following simpler method makes individual servings which can be put together on a baking sheet, tastes just as good and is handsome to look at. Our friend Cris Lerose showed me how he prepares it.

First off, he does not salt the slices. Sometimes he peels the eggplant but that is optional. The bread crumbs can be the panko-style extra crispy crumbs or plain purchased crumbs, or dried ones you make yourself from slightly stale bread.

Two lengthwise slices of eggplant per person usually suffices, more or less depending on your preferences. Dip in flour, then egg, and then the crumbs; fry in olive oil until they are fork tender. Start with one egg beaten; if you need more, break and beat another. Lay the slice on a baking sheet, top it with a smear of your favorite–homemade or not–tomato sauce, then a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese, a thin slice of mozzarella or plentiful scatter if grated, another slice of eggplant, mozzarella then top with sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake it until it is hot and the mozzarella is melted. You could top it with mozzarella instead. We shredded up a little fresh basil to garnish it.

This method really turned the eggplant into a main dish. Suppose you wanted eggplant as a side dish with perhaps grilled Italian sausage or chicken: you could slice the eggplant crosswise instead of lengthwise, to end up with round slabs which you could stack up and bake in the same fashion but end up with smaller servings.

The average eggplant easily makes enough for two to three people. The “recipe” that follows is mostly a non-recipe, more a set of guidelines.

Perfectly delicious and somehow it just seemed so much easier to me than building a whole casserole.

Eggplant Parmesan, Simplified
Serves: 2-3
  • 1 medium to large eggplant
  • Flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato sauce
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Peel and cut an eggplant lengthwise into half-inch thick slices.
  3. Put the egg, flour, and bread crumbs each into flat dishes such as pie plates. Add salt and pepper to the flour.
  4. Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
  5. Dip each slice into flour, then egg, then crumbs and put on the fry pan to brown.
  6. When the eggplant is just tender, remove to a baking pan.
  7. Add tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella and repeat with a second layer of eggplant, sauce and mozzarella.
  8. Bake for twenty to thirty minutes or until the mozzarella is melted, and the dish is bubbling hot.
  9. Serve.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.