- 1 1/2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce
- 1 eggplant
- Kosher Salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 Tb half & half
- 1 1/4 cups flour, divided use
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tb parsley, chopped (optional)
Basic Tomato Sauce Ingredients: yields about 1 1/2 cups of sauce
- 1 Tb Olive Oil
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 @ 28oz can of whole tomatoes, peeled, slightly drained
- 2 Tb fresh basil, chopped
- 2 Tb fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Peel and thinly slice the eggplant, placing the slices on paper towels, single layer. Lightly sprinkle the eggplant slices with Kosher Salt and let them sit. The salt will pull some of the moisture out of the eggplant while seasoning it slightly. In a large stock pot over medium, heat the Olive Oil, add the garlic and onion and saute for about 5 minutes. While these are sauteing pour the slightly drained canned tomatoes in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add the puree tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to the pot with the garlic and onion mixture and stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer while you are frying the eggplant.
You will need 3 medium-sized bowls to prepare your dredging and egg wash ingredients. In bowl #1 stir together 1/2 cup of the flour with the ground black pepper, this is your 1st dredging mixture. In bowl #2 whisk together the eggs and half & half, this is your egg wash mixture. In bowl #3 stir together 3/4 cups of flour and the Italian Style Bread Crumbs, this is your last dredging mixture. Place an eggplant slice in the 1st dredging mixture (the flour and black pepper), thoroughly coat the slice, shake off excess flour, then place in the egg wash mixture and coat the entire eggplant slice. Now place the eggplant slice into the last dredging mixture (the flour and bread crumb mixture), thoroughly coat the eggplant slice and shake off excess, set aside and continue with the rest of the eggplant slices. (Just in case this process is new to you, here’s what happens. The 1st flour mixture gives the egg wash something to adhere to the eggplant slice, the egg wash absorbs the final dredging mixture so it doesn’t fall off in the frying process. And there you have it)
Preheat oven to 400, and spray a 9x13x2 inch baking dish with Pam or cooking spray.
Heat a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a 10 or 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot proceed to fry the eggplant slices until browned and tender, set them aside. This process takes about 2 minutes each side. Your now ready to assemble the casserole.
Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the baking dish and arrange half of the eggplant slice on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Top with 1/2 cup of the sauce and the remaining eggplant slices. Then top this with the remaining sauce and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on top of that.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes longer until the cheese is lightly browned. Once fully baked, remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley if you desire. Let sit for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.