Guaranteed, you won’t miss the bread crumbs in this multi-layered eggplant parm bake. It’s easiest to build it in one big pan, but you can also form the dish individually in ramekins, popping them out before serving for an impressive plate.
- 2 large eggplants (3 – 4 lbs. total)
- About 1/3 C olive oil (or olive oil spray)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 recipe (3 1/2 C) quick chunky tomato sauce
- 8 oz. (1 ball) mozzarella, grated
- 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
- Fresh herbs for garnish, optional
- Preheat broiler and move oven rack close to it. Slice eggplant 1/3″ thick (medium thickness) and place as many slices as will fit into a single layer on a rimmed half sheet pan. Brush (or spray) both sides of slices with olive oil. Broil until starting to brown, 4 to 7 minutes, then flip slices over and broil second side until lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside on another sheet pan. Repeat process until all eggplant is broiled.
- Reduce oven temp to 375 (F) and move rack just above middle position. Spray or lightly coat 4 large ramekins or a 3 qt. baking dish with olive oil. If you made tomato sauce in advance, heat until warm.
- To assemble, spread half the sauce in the bottom of the ramekins or baking dish. Cover with a layer of half the eggplant. Top with all of the mozzarella, then half the parmesan. Create another layer of the remaining eggplant, then top with the remaining sauce. Top with the rest of the parmesan and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Bake (if using ramekins, place on a baking sheet) about 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned, cheese is melted, and sauce bubbles around the edges. Serve almost immediately so the cheese stays melty. Top with some fresh basil, parsley, or oregano, if you have it.
Cook time includes broiling eggplant. This step can be done in advance, or assemble the entire dish a day ahead of time and bake slightly longer, if starting it from chilled.
Ongoing experimentation always leads me back to not salting eggplant slices. I find it to be unnecessary and never notice a difference in taste. If you’re sensitive to bitterness and notice an issue with eggplant where you live, feel free to take the step of sprinkling sliced eggplant with kosher salt, letting stand 30 minutes in a colander, then patting dry.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Italian