Neo-Traditional Eggplant Parm

As I mentioned in the Naked Eggplant Parmesan recipe, John grew up with a more traditional eggplant recipe. Honestly every time we go to our family's favorite Italian restaurant in Baltimore, I make sure to get the tour of Italy with Eggplant Parmesan. It is one of my absolute favorites. I love how the breading adds a nice flavor and crisp to this otherwise saucey dish.


Of course, I still had to put my own spin on the recipe so I've changed a few things out from a traditional eggplant parm. I prefer panko because it makes a nice, light weight, coating. I also offered up two different options to crisp the eggplant...One is the traditional fry method which I like... but honestly it's a mess to clean up... and I hate cleaning. The other is a baked method. John actually said he prefers the baked Eggplant Parmesan because he thought the breading kept more flavor...I think it's also because he doesn't want to clean up the oil after frying the eggplant lol. Either way, both options are yummy!

Alright! Let's get cookin' and spend some thyme together ya'll! Per the usual I included the basic ingredients you need for this recipe, the ingredients I used, and directions to follow along. If you modified something, then skip that step or replace the step with your own ingredient!





FYI: This recipe is based on 1 Medium Eggplant.


Tools:

Two Baking Sheets

Parchment Paper

Deep Frying Pan

3 Bowls for Dredging

Tongs

Paper Towel

Wire Drying Rack

Wet Dredge Hand

Dry Dredge Hand


Keep It Simple | Just The Basics:

2 Eggs

1 Cup Flour

2-3 Cups Panko

Salt

Pepper

Canola Oil or other Fry liquid (enough for 2 - 3 inch depth in pan)

Favorite Sauce

Mozzarella


Thyme For Mine | Make it With Me:

2 Eggs

1 Cup Flour

2-3 Cups Panko

Salt

Pepper

Thyme

Smoked Paprika

Canola Oil or other Fry liquid (enough for 2 - 3 inch depth in pan)

Sunday Funday Pasta Sauce

Mozzarella


Direction Thyme:

1. Cut Eggplant into 1/2"-1" thick rounds

2. If you have time, follow this Super Tip: Prepare Your Eggplant

3. Preheat oven to 375 (if frying skip this step)

4. Line baking sheet with parchment

5. Prepare 1 bowl with flour, salt & pepper

6. Prepare 1 bowl with egg, salt & pepper

7. Prepare 1 bowl with panko, salt & pepper, thyme & paprika

8. Dredge each round with wet hand/ dry hand method--lightly coat with flour, dip in egg, lightly coat with panko

9. Place breaded eggplant on baking sheet

10.a If frying eggplant,

i. Prepare second baking sheet with parchment and wire drying rack

ii. Heat oil on medium(ish) heat until a panko piece dropped into the oil sizzles (I sacrificed a smaller eggplant round and just kept dipping a side in until I saw it was hot enough to properly fry…obviously, skip this step if baking)

iii. Add 4-5 rounds to the oil (not to over crowd the oil)

iiii. Fry eggplant on both sides until crispy brown, flipping every 2-3 minutes

iiiii. Remove from oil and place on prepared baking sheet, dab with paper towel to remove excess oil

10.b. If Baking: Place prepared eggplant into oven for 15-20 minutes until crispy (this is a much preferred method!)

TIP: If not using the eggplant immediately place eggplant on baking sheet with wire rack to allow air flow and prevent mushiness from occurring

11. Pour two ladles of Sunday Funday Pasta sauce in the bottom of a baking dish

12. Layer baked and/or fried eggplant in dish

13. Add a few ladles of Sunday Funday Pasta sauce on top of the eggplant

14. Crumble mozzarella on top--doesn't have to be a ton or even, it will melt and spread out

15. Bake about 25 minutes until golden brown on top

Serve with your favorite pasta or spaghetti squash and ENJOY!

Et Voila! Yummy, delicious baked goodness!

Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash


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