Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Overflown with eggplants or just after an Italian? Check out this Eggplant Parmesan recipe that’s even vegetarian!

Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-1-SunCakeMomEggplant Parmesan origin is highly debated topic among the Italian cities of Parma, Naples, and the island of Sicily as a whole with each claiming to be the birthplace of the dish.

We may think that Eggplant Parmesan, or simply “Parmigiana” in its homeland, is called Eggplant parm because its apparent and rather obvious connection with Parmagiono-Reggiano aka Parmesan cheese, but things aren’t always as they appear in the culinary world.

The Sicilian camp’s base for their claim rests on presumed similarities with “parmigiana di melanzane” and other expressions in the Sicilian language.

Words like “damigiana”, that is used for the casserole dish, Eggplant Parmesan would be prepared in, or “palmigiana” meaning shutters that is an apparent reference to its sliced and stacked nature. For most of us though, who don’t speak or are able to pronounce any Sicilian, “Parmiciana” which simply means “Persian” would make the most sense.

Parma’s claim for the dish, although seems pretty obvious because of the similarities in words, is the most dubious though. Not because they call a dish “Persian”, as we have seen worse (looking at you, baba ghanoush), but rather because there are more convincing theories out there.

Even though, the dish is called Eggplant Parmesan, the cheese itself is not really the determining ingredient in the dish. Nor was it when the dish started to gain popularity back in the early 19th century, even though Parmesan had been produced in Italy since the 14th century.

Sure, we throw some Parma in, or sometimes a lot because hey, it’s Italian, but the tomato sauce and the roasted mozzarella features more prominently in its flavor development than Parmesan. Most likely, this is why Parmigiana’s origin is pinned to Naples by experts which also gave birth to the Neapolitan Pizza.

Originally, eggplant Parmesan slices were simply pan fried in oil that exploited the plant excellent ability to absorb liquids thus flavors then layered with tomato sauce. Only then was it baked into golden brown perfection in the oven but nowadays similar to Chicken Parmesan, we like to add unnecessary empty calories to any dish so we bread and deep fry them in oil first.

Of course, the additional carbs and fat will make it taste much better since our brain is hard wired to reward us for any high calorie food but in terms of nutritions, if not pushed over but certainly kicks the dish to the edge of the Mediterranean diet scenery.

Prepped without the additional flour and breadcrumbs though, Eggplant parm can be a perfect dish on any keto or gluten free diet, given that we are not shunning dairy too. Mozzarella and Parmesan, the dairy pillars of Italian cooking are routinely added to the dish either mixed with each other or solely preferring one over the other.

Of course, leaving the Parmesan from Eggplant Parmesan sounds a bit weird, but this wouldn’t be the first time nor the last when a dish uses a name that has not much to do with it.

The crucial part of the dish is the ingredients that don’t get much mention, is the tomato sauce that could make or break the dish. Luckily, making a tasty tomato sauce doesn’t need special skills nor endless debates about its origin, but some patience and a couple of spices with herbs.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-3-SunCakeMom

Ingredients

  • 1 big / 500g Eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon / 5g Salt
  • 1 tablespoon / 15g Cooking oil
  • 1 clove / 3g Garlic (finely cut)
  • 2 cups / 500g Tomato sauce
  • ½ cup / 50g Parmesan
  • ½ cup / 135g Mozzarella
  • 2 medium / 100g Eggs (real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations)
  • ⅓ cup / 50g Flour (real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations)
  • 1 cup / 100g Breadcrumbs (real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations)
  • ¼ cup / 60g Cooking oil (real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations)

 

How to make Eggplant Parmesan

  1. Slice the eggplants to about ¼” / 5mm wide slices.Slice-salt-eggplant--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  2. Rub them with salt and let the salt drive out some moisture for about half an hour or more.Slice-salt-eggplant--gp--2-SunCakeMom
  3. Meanwhile, heat some oil in a saucepan then lightly brown the finely cut garlic.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce, place the lid on, leaving space for the steam to escape, then bring it to boil.Tomato sauce lid - SunCakeMom
  5. Reduce heat to simmer and cook away about half of the liquid. Take it off heat and let it cool.Tomato-puree-sauce-reduced--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  6. If we go for the breaded eggplants then prepare the breading station by beating eggs in a bowl then pouring out flour and breadcrumbs onto a plate. Coat both sides of each eggplant with flour then dip them into the beaten eggs. Finally dunk both sides of each eggplant in the breadcrumbs.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-1-SunCakeMom
  7. Heat oil to medium high then fry the eggplants until the inside softens and both sides get golden brown color, about 2 – 3 minutes each side.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-2-SunCakeMom
  8. Let them drip off any excess oil.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-3-SunCakeMom
  9. Once all of the eggplant slices are breaded and fried, we are ready to assemble the Eggplant Parmesan. Ladle half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.Tomato-sauce-spread-ladle-casserole-dish--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  10. Sprinkle on some Parmesan if used. Place on the fried eggplants.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-4-SunCakeMom
  11. Spread on the other half of the tomato sauce.  Of course, if more layers are used then divide the tomato sauce and cheese accordingly.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-5-SunCakeMom
  12. Sprinkle on more Parmesan if used and add the Mozzarella.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-6-SunCakeMom
  13. Place the Eggplant Parmesan into the middle rack of a 425°F/220°C preheated oven, until the Mozzarella gets golden brown color, about 15 minutes.Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-7-SunCakeMom

Enjoy!Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-2-SunCakeMom

F.A.Q.

Is eggplant parmigiana the same as eggplant Parmesan?

Most likely, it is. Eggplant Parmesan is simply called Parmigiana or Parmigiana de melanzane in Italian. Parmigiana stands for Parmesan and melanzane for Eggplant.

What is the secret of cooking eggplant?

There is no secret to it but depending on the cooking method, some preparations may be needed to drive out excess moisture from the plant. Rubbing the eggplant slices with salt and letting them sit for 30-60 minutes generally does the trick.

Why is it called parmigiana?

Parmigiana is named after the city of Parma in Italy. It’s an Eggplant based dish, most likely invented in Parma.

Does parmigiana have Parmesan?

Many people put Parmesan cheese in Parmigiana but it’s not a requirement. The dish, Eggplant Parmesan is named after the city of Parma not the cheese Parmesan.

Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-16x9-SunCakeMom
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Star Me Up!

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Overflown with eggplants or just after an Italian? Check out this Eggplant Parmesan recipe that's even vegetarian!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean, Sugar free recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 296kcal
Author SunCakeMom

Ingredients

  • 1 big Eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Cooking oil
  • 1 clove Garlic finely cut
  • 2 cups Tomato sauce
  • ½ cup Parmesan
  • ½ cup Mozzarella
  • 2 medium Eggs real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations
  • cup Flour real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations
  • 1 cup Breadcrumbs real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations
  • ¼ cup Cooking oil real amount is higher value for nutritional calculations

Instructions

  • Slice the eggplants to about ¼" / 5mm wide slices.
    Slice-salt-eggplant--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Rub them with salt and let the salt drive out some moisture for about half an hour or more.
    Slice-salt-eggplant--gp--2-SunCakeMom
  • Meanwhile, heat some oil in a saucepan then lightly brown the finely cut garlic.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, place the lid on, leaving space for the steam to escape, then bring it to boil.
    Tomato sauce lid - SunCakeMom
  • Reduce heat to simmer and cook away about half of the liquid. Take it off heat and let it cool.
    Tomato-puree-sauce-reduced--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • If we go for the breaded eggplants then prepare the breading station by beating eggs in a bowl then pouring out flour and breadcrumbs onto a plate. Coat both sides of each eggplant with flour then dip them into the beaten eggs. Finally dunk both sides of each eggplant in the breadcrumbs.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-1-SunCakeMom
  • Heat oil to medium high then fry the eggplants until the inside softens and both sides get golden brown color, about 2 - 3 minutes each side.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-2-SunCakeMom
  • Let them drip off any excess oil.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-3-SunCakeMom
  • Once all of the eggplant slices are breaded and fried, we are ready to assemble the Eggplant Parmesan. Ladle half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish.
    Tomato-sauce-spread-ladle-casserole-dish--gp--1-SunCakeMom
  • Sprinkle on some Parmesan if used. Place on the fried eggplants.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-4-SunCakeMom
  • Spread on the other half of the tomato sauce.  Of course, if more layers are used then divide the tomato sauce and cheese accordingly.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-5-SunCakeMom
  • Sprinkle on more Parmesan if used and add the Mozzarella.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-6-SunCakeMom
  • Place the Eggplant Parmesan into the middle rack of a 425°F/220°C preheated oven, until the Mozzarella gets golden brown color, about 15 minutes.
    Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Process-7-SunCakeMom

Notes

Enjoy!

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 296kcal (15%) | Carbohydrates: 26g (9%) | Protein: 11g (22%) | Fat: 17g (26%) | Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 68mg (23%) | Sodium: 1127mg (49%) | Potassium: 323mg (9%) | Fiber: 2g (8%) | Sugar: 4g (4%) | Vitamin A: 561IU (11%) | Vitamin C: 6mg (7%) | Calcium: 201mg (20%) | Iron: 2mg (11%)

Pin now, Enjoy later!

Eggplant-parmesan-recipe-Pinterest-SunCakeMom

 



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