My family always felt lukewarm towards eggplant…until this recipe. And it’s easy! Simply dredge slices of egg-dipped eggplant into a flavorful combination of Parmesan, crumbs and seasoning. Then roast the pieces just long enough to crisp the outside before the inside becomes too soft.
In previous recipes, I have mentioned using crushed Rice Chex as a gluten-free option to panko or dry breadcrumbs. I now use the Rice Chex crumbs even when not required by a dietary restriction. Even the gluten eaters claim to prefer the texture they deliver over the old standby. That said, feel free to choose according to preference or what you have on hand.
For those wishing to try the Chex option, three cups of Rice Chex yields approximately one cup of crumbs. Just like breadcrumbs, they may be stored for several months in an airtight container.
For an easy-to-prepare, rustic tomato sauce that I love to serve with these tasty bites, follow this recipe link for Speedy Cherry Tomato Sauce. Putting both recipes together and piling atop hot-cooked pasta creates a simple twist on the classic eggplant Parmesan. I especially love this Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan because the eggplant stays nice and crispy.
Yields 4-6 servings.
- 2 pounds small to medium-size eggplant (about 6 depending on exact size)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs (use Rice Chex crumbs for a gluten-free option)
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil, for baking sheets
- Optional: marinara sauce for dipping
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a baking sheet with oil. Set aside. (You may need to use two sheets.)
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and 1 tablespoons water. In another bowl (a pie plate works well), combine the panko or Rice Chex crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- Cut the eggplants into thick rounds. (I like them to be between 1/2 and 3/4 inches thick so they have time to brown in the oven before they become too soft.) Dip the eggplant slices in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the dipped slices in the Parmesan mixture, pushing down gently to coat well. Transfer the coated slices to the baking sheet.
- Bake until golden brown on the bottom, 17-20 minutes. (Peek underneath using a spatula; if they aren’t yet golden, give them a few more minutes and check again.) Flip the slices and continue baking until lightly browned on other side but still slightly firm, about 10 minutes more. All ovens vary, so don’t hesitate to adjust a few minutes either way. You want the first side to be golden brown; then worry more about doneness and texture than getting the second side equally browned. (When pressed for time, I have simply given the tops a quick broil rather than flipping and cooking for the additional 10 minutes.)
- Remove from the oven, and serve as is or with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
- If you’d like to try this recipe with larger eggplants, I recommend placing the slices in a colander and tossing with a half-teaspoon or so of salt. Allow the excess moisture to drain for 20-30 minutes, and then blot dry and proceed as directed.