Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is usually made in a casserole with layers of fried eggplant alternating with sauce and cheeses, almost always mozzarella and parmesan, or another hard salty Italian grating cheese.  It’s one of the all-time great tomato-saucey Italian dishes, and if you are a vegetarian it may be your go-to order at an Italian joint.   

I’m tempted to say that even mediocre eggplant Parmesan is good eggplant Parmesan, but that just isn’t really the case.  Some eggplant Parmesans are oily or soggy or tasteless or too bready.  This is none of those things.  In fact I set out to make an eggplant Parm where every bite is crispy and cheesy and just the right amount of saucey, and I think I found what I was looking for.

Crispy Eggplant Parmesan: In this eggplant Parm every bite is crispy and cheesy and just the right amount of saucey.

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This eggplant Parm is made on a sheetpan, with the slices of sauteed crunchy eggplant just slightly overlapping so they retain their texture – crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.  Then mozzarella is sprinkled over the slices to melt gently in the oven, and only when it is taken from the heat is some warm marinara drizzle over the slices.  No sogginess, no mushiness, every bite is distinctly toothsome.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Sheetpan Eggplant Parmesan

However, if you want to make this in a 13×9 inch pan instead of a rimmed baking sheet that’s another option.  The difference is that you will get a deeper, thicker eggplant Parmesan casserole experience with the 13×9-inch pan, but a slightly less crisp one – the slices of eggplant will still have good texture since they were sauteed ahead of time, and you should still keep the sauce to the side for ladling over pieces with the baked casserole.  Again, no sogginess.

There is no wrong in eggplant Parmesan, there is only preference.  I am happy with it both ways.  

How to Make Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.

Leaving the peel on the eggplant, slice them into ½-inch slices.  Place the slices in a colander, sprinkling with kosher salt as you layer in the slices.  Place the colander in the sink and let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Place the flour on a plate, and place the eggs in a shallow bowl, then season the breadcrumbs with the oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and the pepper on a separate plate.  Pat the eggplant dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels (do not rinse the eggplant!).  

Place each slice of eggplant on the plate with the flour, then flip it over, but don’t press down on the eggplant; you just want a light coating of flour on both sides of the eggplant.  

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Dip each slice into the beaten eggs, then allow any excess egg to drip back into the bowl.  

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Place the eggplant slices on the plate with the breadcrumbs, turn it to coat both sides.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Place the coated eggplant on a wire rack.

Sauté the breaded eggplant slices in batches in oil in a hot pan in a single layer for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the eggplant is browned on the outside, and a bit tender on the inside. 

Drizzle a thin layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of the oiled baking sheet.  Arrange the eggplant over the sauce.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Don’t worry about any slight overlapping; they should all fit in as close to a single layer as possible.

Place the mozzarella over the eggplant.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Sprinkle them with the Parmesan.   

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and a touch browned.

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Remove from the oven and spoon over the warmed sauce.  

Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

Serve hot.

What to Serve with Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan:

Other Italian Comfort Food Recipes:

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Crispy Baked Eggplant Parmesan

In this eggplant Parm every bite is crispy and cheesy and just the right amount of saucey.
Yield: 8 People
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Eggplant Salting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 small eggplants (about 12 ounces each)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt , plus more for sprinkling on the eggplants
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs , beaten
  • ½ cup fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons olive oil , divided
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ pound mozzarella , packaged or fresh, shredded
  • 3 cups marinara or other pasta sauce , warmed
  • Chopped fresh parsley to serve

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Leaving the peel on the eggplant, slice them into ½-inch slices. Place the slices in a colander, sprinkling with kosher salt as you layer in the slices. You will use about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in total. Place the colander in the sink and let the eggplant sit for 30 minutes; the salt is pulling out the excess moisture from the eggplant, which allows it to cook up more firmly and crisp up better, and also removes any bitterness.
  • Place the flour on a plate, and place the eggs in a shallow bowl. Mix the breadcrumbs with the oregano, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and the pepper on a separate plate. Pat the eggplant dry with a clean dish towel or paper towels (do not rinse the eggplant!).
  • Place a couple of wire racks, or baking sheets nearby. Place each slice of eggplant on the plate with the flour, then flip it over, but don’t press down on the eggplant; you just want a light coating of flour on both sides of the eggplant. Dip each slice into the beaten eggs, then allow any excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Place the eggplant slices on the plate with the breadcrumbs, turn it to coat both sides. Place the coated eggplant on the wire rack.
  • Heat 3 tablespoons the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the breaded eggplant slices in batches in a single layer for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the eggplant is browned on the outside, and a bit tender on the inside. Transfer the fried eggplant to paper towels to drain as they are finished, and continue frying the eggplant, adding more oil to the pan as you go.
  • Drizzle a thin layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of the oiled baking sheet. Arrange the eggplant over the sauce, overlapping the slices slightly so that they all fit in as close to a single layer as possible, but don’t worry about the overlapping. Place the thin slices of the mozzarella over the eggplant, and sprinkle them with the Parmesan. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and a touch browned.
  • Remove from the oven and spoon over the warmed sauce. Serve hot.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1121mg | Potassium: 648mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 759IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 263mg | Iron: 3mg

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