Eggplant Parmesan

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eggplant parmigiana

What’s Up, Hungry People!

Summer’s farewell means it’s harvest season. My little gardening experiment bore fruit, or should I say veggies, with a bumper crop of eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers.

Tonight’s dish on the menu? You guessed it—eggplant parmesan.

eggplants from garden

From Garden to Plate

The pride of this dish? Most of the star ingredients were home-grown. However, I did swing by the store for breadcrumbs, tomato sauce, and that rich parmesan cheese.

ingredients for eggplant parm

Here’s What You Need:

  • Eggplant: The main star of this dish, providing a meaty texture and unique flavor.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Offer sweetness and freshness to the sauce.
  • Tomato sauce: Enhances the depth and richness of the sauce.
  • Plain breadcrumbs: Creates a crispy exterior for the fried eggplants.
  • Parmesan cheese: Adds a salty, umami-rich layer atop the eggplants.
  • Egg: Acts as a binder for the breadcrumbs to the eggplant.
  • Red or green bell pepper: Introduces a sweet or mild spice and crunch to the sauce.
  • Onion: Enhances the depth and savoriness of the sauce.
  • Sugar: Balances out the acidity of the tomatoes in the sauce.
  • Garlic: Adds an aromatic and robust flavor to the sauce.
  • Hot paprika: Gives the sauce a hint of spicy warmth.
  • Fresh parsley: Brightens up the sauce with its herbaceous notes.
  • Olive oil or butter: For frying and sautéing, adding richness to the dish.
  • Salt & pepper: Seasoning to enhance and balance the overall flavors.
  • Fettuccine noodles: Optional base to serve the eggplant parmesan on.

Let’s Cook!

Kick off by slicing the eggplant between one and a half to two inches thick, and give them a drying session of an hour or so. A handy trick: sandwich them between paper towels and weigh them down with a heavy plate. Helps zap that moisture quicker!

tomato sauce in blender

Sauce it Up!

With the eggplants doing their thing, it was time to whip up a zesty sauce. Freshly plucked cherry tomatoes, peppers, and parsley took center stage, with hot paprika, garlic, and onions bringing that extra pizzazz. And guess what? My trusty food processor’s been a game-changer! I’ve been churning out all sorts of fun sauces (like my pepper jelly and pizza sauce, so keep an eye out for those recipes).

blended sauce

Let those pureed peppers and tomatoes simmer away until most of the liquid bids adieu. That’s when you stir in the tomato sauce and achieve that velvety consistency.

simmering sauce

Pro tip: Keep it on a medium-low flame and remember to give it a stir now and then. We don’t want a burned sauce situation on our hands!

thickening sauce

All About that Eggplant

Time for our star, the eggplant. A double dip in whisked eggs, followed by a breadcrumb shower, ensures a crisp outer layer. But hey, if some breadcrumbs decide to play hard-to-get and not stick to the skin, don’t sweat it. Once fried, they all taste amazing.

dredging eggplant
breading eggplant
frying eggplant

While those slices sizzle, give your sauce a taste-test and tweak the flavors if needed. My cherry tomatoes pack a natural sweetness, so I usually go easy on the sugar. But hey, it’s your sauce—make it sing the way you like.

sugar in sauce

Layer and Bake

Lay those crispy eggplant slices on a baking tray, smother with your sauce, and crown each with parmesan. Into the oven they go for about 15-20 minutes. You’re looking for melted cheese and a slightly thicker sauce. Serving suggestion? Nestle them on a bed of fettuccine, maybe drizzle some more sauce, because why not?

baking eggplant parm

Eggplant Parmesan Tips & Tricks:

  • Eggplant Preparation: Drawing out moisture from eggplant before frying ensures a crisper result. Don’t skip this step!
  • Breadcrumb Crust: If the breadcrumbs aren’t sticking well, ensure the eggplant slice is fully coated in egg.
  • Sauce Thickness: The sauce’s consistency is key. If too watery, simmer longer; if too thick, add a splash of water or broth.
  • Frying: Ensure your oil or butter is hot but not smoking to achieve a golden-brown crust without making the eggplant greasy.
  • Leftover Sauce: If you have extra sauce, it pairs wonderfully with pasta or as a base for pizza. Store in an airtight container.
  • Serving Options: This dish is versatile. Beyond fettuccine, consider serving on spaghetti, rice, or even a bed of fresh greens.

A Dish to Drive For

Eggplant parmesan holds a special place in my family—especially with my dad. When he caught wind I was making it, he practically pleaded for a serving, despite living miles away. Guess what? I packed some leftovers, hit the road, and delivered! And trust me, it’s a dish that tastes fab even after a couple of days.

perfect eggplant parm

Growing your own veggies and then turning them into something as comforting and flavorful as eggplant parmesan is truly rewarding. This recipe, bursting with garden-fresh ingredients, offers a homey touch to every bite. From the crisp breadcrumb layer to the rich tomato sauce, the flavors meld beautifully, and it all comes together effortlessly. Plus, the versatility of serving options, whether atop fettuccine or enjoyed on its own, makes it a versatile choice for any meal. And the best part? Sharing it with loved ones, like my dad, only amplifies its delicious charm.

eggplant parmigiana

Eggplant Parmesan

The Starving Chef
A garden-fresh eggplant parmesan recipe, bursting with home-grown flavors and served best with a side of love.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Drying Time 1 hour
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner, Summer
Cuisine Italian, Vegetarian
Servings 4



  • Cut the eggplant into slices about an inch and a half to two inches thick. Place the eggplant slices between paper towels and set a heavy plate on top. Allow the eggplant to release moisture for about one hour. Alternatively, seal them in a bag with paper towels and refrigerate with a heavy object on top overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash and prep the cherry tomatoes. Cut the pepper and onion into large chunks.
  • In a food processor, blend the cherry tomatoes, onion, pepper, garlic, parsley, and hot paprika until a smooth sauce forms.
  • In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter (or heat oil) until foaming. Add the pureed tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the mixture until the sauce starts to separate its moisture from the other ingredients and has reduced in volume by about half. Add the tomato sauce. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer while preparing the eggplants. Remember to stir occasionally.
  • Pour the breadcrumbs into a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.
  • Whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip each eggplant slice into the egg, ensuring it's fully covered. Let any excess drip off.
  • Press the eggplant slices into the breadcrumbs until they're fully covered. For a thicker crust, dip the slices back into the egg and then back into the breadcrumbs.
  • Heat the remaining two tablespoons of butter (or oil) in a skillet over high heat until foaming. Fry the breaded eggplant slices on both sides until they're browned, roughly three to four minutes per side.
  • Add three tablespoons of sugar to the sauce on the stove. Stir well and then remove from heat.
  • Arrange the fried eggplant slices on a foil-lined and greased baking sheet. Spoon a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce over each slice. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan cheese on top. Store any leftover sauce for later use.
  • Bake the eggplant slices in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melting and just starting to turn golden brown.
  • Optionally, serve the eggplant slices on a bed of cooked fettuccine noodles. Serve hot and enjoy!
Keyword eggplant, Parmesan
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