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Eggplant Parmesan Recipe: Easy Classical Recipe

Eggplant Parmesan or eggplant parmigiana is one of the most famous and loved recipes of the Italian cuisine.

eggplant parmesan

Today I want to show you the recipe for Sicilian style eggplant parmesan.

Sicilian style eggplant parmesan has two characteristics that differentiate it from other versions:

  • The eggplants are fried “in purity”, that is, without dipping them in egg, flour or breadcrumbs.

It is important, however, that they are salted for at least an hour.

  • Sicilian parmesan is made up of a few simple ingredients: only eggplants, tomato sauce and basil and a sprinkling of cheese (grated parmesan or caciocavallo cheese).
eggplant parmesan

Today I share my family recipe for eggplant parmesan – Sicily style.

The one my grandmother used to make, the one my mother makes and the one I inherited.

What Is Eggplant Parmesan?

Eggplant Parmesan, also called simply parmigiana or eggplant parmigiana, is a side dish made with eggplant (of course), tomato puree and lots of parmesan cheese.

We said that it is a side dish, that is true, but parmigiana can also be brought to the table as a single dish since it is a rich recipe.

Ingredients Needed

These are the main ingredients you need for this Eggplant Parmesan.

For the step-by-step directions and measurements, scroll down to our printable recipe card. 

  • Eggplants
  • Tomato pulp (passata)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • Salt & Pepper

Preparing The Eggplant For Eggplant Parmesan

Wash the eggplants and dry them.

Slice them lengthwise to a thickness of 2mm or 3mm, and put them in a container sprinkling layer after layer with a little coarse salt to make them lose their bitter vegetation water.

Cover them with a plate and put a weight on them. Leave them like this for at least an hour.

Afterwards wash them under running water and fry them in plenty of olive oil.

Eggplant Selection Tips

For this recipe, the best eggplant to use is the Black Oval Eggplant.

When choosing, while buying, it is important to pay special attention to the skin, which should be smooth, turgid, shiny and without a dent. It is best if the eggplant has a petiole, well attached and not dry. 

eggplant for parmesan

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan: The Authentic Recipe

Prepare the eggplant: Purge the eggplant under salt for a minimum of one hour. Then fry them.

Prepare the tomato sauce: In a skillet sauté the onion with one garlic; when the onion is golden brown, add the tomato puree and cook until the sauce is well reduced.

Assemble the eggplant parmigiana: In a baking dish, make a first layer of passata, then eggplant, lots of parmesan cheese and continue like this.

Bake the parmigiana: Bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven.

See also:


Eggplant Parmesan On A Plate

eggplant parmesan

In Sicily there is an even simpler version of the classic eggplant parmesan described here.

And it does not require cooking in the oven: a sauce is prepared with fresh tomatoes and the eggplants, previously fried, are arranged directly on the plate, forming layers with the tomato sauce and basil and the cheese.

Variations To The Classic Eggplant Parmesan

In some Italian regions they fry the eggplants in flour and egg, and in other regions they add ham and boiled eggs in the layers.

What to Serve With Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmigiana is a great side dish for these delicious breaded pork chops, but serve it with this delicious focaccia to make it a main dish as well.

Tips To Make Eggplant Parmesan

  • Always purge the eggplant.
  • The tomato sauce for the eggplant parmigiana must be fairly restricted.
  • Parmigiana is still not eaten warm but lukewarm. Besides, the longer it rests the better it will taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Store And Freeze

You can store the eggplant parmesan in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

If you need to prepare them well in advance, you can also prepare the parmigiana and arrange it in the baking dish, then freeze it.

You can then cook it while still frozen, increasing the cooking time by at least 15 minutes.

If, on the other hand, you have leftovers already cooked, you can freeze it and then thaw it in the microwave or in the oven.

How many layers should eggplant parm be?

Minimum three layers of eggplant. 

Do I need to salt my eggplant before making eggplant parmesan?

This is a very useful, and in some cases essential, procedure to eliminate the bitter taste typical of this vegetable.

I always do this when cooking eggplant, better safe than sorry used to say my grandmother

Do you leave the skin on eggplant for eggplant parmesan?

 Some prefer them with the skin and some without. In my family they always left it. 

What sauce are we using?

I use passata, and I cook well shrunk, but a good tomato pulp is also fine for this recipe.

What is the best way to cook eggplant?

To make the eggplant parmigiana authentic, the eggplant must be fried. But also baked with a drizzle of oil or even roasted create a delicious variation of parmigiana.


parmigiana eggplant

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eggplant parmigiana
Yield: 6 portions

How To Make Eggplant Parmesan

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rest: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Eggplant parmiggiana as my grandmother used to make it.

Ingredients

  • 4 Eggplants
  • 800g Tomato pulp
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 10 Basil leaves
  • 80g Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Olive oil (for frying)
  • Salt & Pepper

Instructions

  1. To prepare eggplant parmesan according to the traditional Sicilian recipe, start by washing the eggplants well.
  2. Dry them and cut them into not too thin slices (5mm).
  3. As you cut them, place them in a colander and sprinkle them with a little fine salt. Form layers, sprinkling each layer with salt.
  4. Then take a weight (such as a large pot full of water) and place it on top of the eggplant, so that it keeps it well pressed down. Underneath the colander place a plate and leave the eggplant to drain for at least an hour. (1*)
  5. While the eggplants are purging you can prepare the sauce: finely chop the onion and cut the garlic in half, removing the central part. Fry the garlic and onion in 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
  6. When the onion has become transparent, add the tomato pulp, a pinch of salt and pepper, and close the pot with the lid. Let it cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes, then turn off the heat and remove the garlic.
  7. After an hour, remove the weight from the eggplants, squeeze them one by one and rinse them under water to remove the salt.
  8. Then dry them carefully with a clean cloth .
  9. Heat plenty of olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan, then fry the eggplant a few at a time for about 3 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
  10. When they are just golden, drain them well and let them dry on a sheet of kitchen paper that will absorb the excess oil.
  11. While they are still hot, salt them lightly.
  12. Now that all the ingredients are ready you can assemble your Sicilian style eggplant parmigiana.
  13. Spread the bottom of an ovenproof dish with a ladleful of tomato sauce.
  14. Arrange the fried eggplant next to each other without overlapping. Cover with a generous amount of tomato sauce garnished with fresh basil leaves.
  15. Cover everything with abundant grated cheese. Continue forming another layer of eggplant and tomato seasoned with basil and Parmesan cheese, until all the ingredients are used up.
  16. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and bake the eggplant parmigiana for about 30 minutes in static mode.
  17. At the end of cooking, if the surface has not yet taken color, you can briefly turn on the grill.
  18. Take the parmigiana out of the oven and let it cool.
  19. The Parmesan is ready!

Notes

1* You will see that from the colander will come out some dark liquid, that is the water contained in the eggplants themselves. This step of salting the eggplants, although a bit boring, is very important for two reasons: first because it allows you to eliminate the possible bitter aftertaste of the eggplants themselves.
In this way the eggplants will lose their water and will be less spongy, thus absorbing less oil during cooking.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 301mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 11gSugar: 16gProtein: 8g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Barbara

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Sounds good but Bake at 180 Degrees does not seem right at all.

Angie

Saturday 23rd of July 2022

Hi Barbara, is 180° C (350° F).

Sara

Friday 22nd of July 2022

I am making this! I love that it isn't covered in mozz, it makes it much lighter with just sauce and parm!

Lori Deditius

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Lovely and so delicious

Angie

Wednesday 20th of July 2022

Thank you Lori :)

Judith Pusateri

Thursday 27th of January 2022

I made this recipe and it was delicious!

The Bella Vita

Thursday 27th of January 2022

Hi Judith :) Thank you.

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