This is how The Bunny likes it. Heavy, hearty, cheesy. I make an 8 x 8 dish for us for dinner, and then individual servings to put in the freezer for his dinner when I work late. The recipe below is for a standard 9 x 13 Pyrex casserole dish.
- 2 large eggplants, about 3 lbs
- all purpose flour
- 4 eggs (maybe more)
- kosher salt, granulated garlic, Italian seasoning and black pepper
- oil for frying – vegetable or olive
- 24 oz of your favorite tomato sauce
- 2 lbs sliced whole milk, low moisture mozzarella
- 1 lb sliced fresh mozzarella
- 2 cups shredded or grated Parmesan (use the best you can find)
- Peel the eggplants and slice 1/4 inch thick disks. Layer the disks in a colander, sprinkling each layer liberally with kosher salt. This pulls out the moisture and firms the eggplant up. You can leave the colander in the sink or put on a dish to catch the water. Let sit about 30 minutes, then rinse with cold water and shake dry.
- Meanwhile, set up your breading station. Beat the eggs with some water to make an egg wash, about 1/2 cup water for the 4 eggs. Put some flour in a flat dish, start with about 2 cups. Put oil in a wide, heavy bottomed pan. Put a paper grocer bag or paper towels on a sheet tray and then a cooling rack on top of that.
- I don’t like to have breading hand, so I like to dust all of the eggplant disks at once and stack them up on a sheet tray. Make sure to coat the disks well and then bang them a bit to get the extra flour off.
- When all of the eggplant disks are coated in flour, turn the burner under the frying pan to medium and heat to 350*. Dip each slice in the egg wash and place in the hot frying oil. Do enough for a comfortable layer at the bottom of the pan – do not crowd. When the slices are brown on one side, flip carefully with tongs and brown the other side. Now remove from the pan and put on the cooling rack to drain. Repeat with all of the eggplant, adding more oil as necessary and making more egg wash if needed.
- Now it is assembly time! Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the Pyrex. Place one layer of eggplant, cutting as needed to cover the entire casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, Parmesan and granulated garlic. Place the whole milk mozzarella slices on top to cover. Dollop the cheese slices with tomato sauce. Then we do another layer of eggplant and seasonings, this time topping with the fresh mozzarella. It does not need to cover everything. Dollop with sauce, and repeat all over, alternating the sliced whole milk mozzarella with the fresh mozzarella. You want to make sure that the last layer has plenty of cheese and a lot of Parmesan.
- You now have options – cover and put in the freezer for dinner another night, cover and put in refrigerator for dinner later, or bake right away. Any choice, and it will bake at 350* until golden brown and delicious. Let set 10 minutes before enjoying. I serve it with salad and garlic bread.
This recipe is forgiving. You can use more or less cheese, all sliced or all fresh mozzarella. More sauce or meat sauce. Jarred sauce or homemade. Adjust it how your family likes.