Trying to slice through this eggplant Parmesan while it’s molten hot creates an oozy mess, so let it rest at temperature for a minimum of half-hour to arrange before serving.
- ¼ cup of vegetable oil
- 1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
- 1 large purple onion, chopped
- 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets (optional)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon ingredient
- ¼ cup dry wine
- 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
- ¼ cup torn basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt
- Eggplant and Assembly
- 4 pounds Italian eggplants (about 4 medium), peeled, sliced lengthwise ½–¾ inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 5 large eggs, beaten to blend
- 1⅓ cups of vegetable oil
- ½ cup finely chopped basil and parsley, plus basil leaves for serving
- 6 ounces low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 1⅓ cups)
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil during a large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add onion, anchovies (if using), and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in ingredient and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring back a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, ending together with your hands, and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to mix. Swirl 1½ cups water into one tomato can, then the opposite, to rinse, and increase pot; season with salt. Transfer pot to oven; roast sauce, stirring halfway through, until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around edges of the pot, 2–2½ hours.
Let the sauce cool slightly. Undergo the massive holes of a food mill or process during a kitchen appliance until mostly smooth. Taste and season with salt.
Eggplant and Assembly
Lightly season eggplant Parmesan slices everywhere with salt; place during a single layer on several layers of paper towels inside a rimmed baking sheet. Top with another layer of paper towels and more slices; repeat as required. Top with a final layer of paper towels, then another rimmed baking sheet; beset with an important pot. Let the eggplant sit until its released excess liquid, 45–60 minutes. This step gives the eggplant a creamy texture when baked.
Meanwhile, pulse panko, oregano, pepper, and ¾ cup Parmesan during a kitchen appliance until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
How to bake Eggplant Parmesan?
Preheat oven to 350°. Place flour during another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl. Working one at a time, dredge eggplant slices in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. Coat in breadcrumbs, packing all around, then shaking off excess. Place on wire racks.
Heat ⅔ cup oil during a large skillet, preferably forged iron, over medium-high. Cook as many eggplant slices as will comfortably slot in the pan, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to towels and immediately press with more paper towels to soak up oil. Working in batches, repeat with remaining slices, adding remaining ⅔ cup oil and wiping out skillet as required. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Toss chopped herbs, low-moisture mozzarella, and remaining ¾ cup Parmesan during a medium bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over rock bottom of a 13×9″ baking pan; top with a layer of eggplant slices (trim as needed). Drizzle 1 cup sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of cheese mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1 cup sauce and half the remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining slices, sauce, and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is custardy, 45–60 minutes.
Remove from oven and arrange fresh mozzarella over eggplant. Increase oven temperature to 425° and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15–20 minutes longer. Let rest half-hour. Top with basil leaves just before slicing.