The eggplant's journey to Sicily began centuries ago, courtesy of the Arabs who brought this delightful squash from India. It quickly entrenched itself in Italian cuisine, earning a prime spot on dinner tables. Now, the origin of Melanzane Alla Parmigiana sparks a passionate debate among culinary historians. Some propose its name is tied to the Sicilian word parmiciana, describing the wooden strips that form shutters, mirroring the layered, bread-crusted fried eggplant within. Others suggest ties to Parma, Italy, hence parmigiana. Yet others insist that Naples is the original birthplace of this infamous dish.
Whatever your belief, there’s no denying that Eggplant Parmesan is a true masterpiece. Thick slices of eggplant, lightly coated in a crispy golden-brown crust, nestled in a bed of rich, tangy marinara sauce. Each layer is a symphony of flavors - tender eggplant, embraced by a blanket of melted mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano, creating a luscious, gooey texture that dances on your palate. With every bite, you experience the satisfying crunch of the breadcrumb coating giving way to the velvety smoothness of the eggplant, all bathed in the savory embrace of tomato sauce. Our Eggplant Parm is a tantalizing medley of textures and tastes that will leave you craving another forkful before you've even finished the last.
▢ 2 large eggplants
▢ 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
▢ 3 eggs
▢ Heritage Blend EVOO
▢ 2 cups panko
▢ 1 tbsp Bona Furtuna Erbe di Sicilia
▢ 1 tsp Bona Furtuna Garlic Salt
▢ 1 1/2 cups Bona Furtuna Basil Marinara Sauce
▢ 1 lb mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
▢ 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
▢ Fresh basil to serve
- Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick disks.
- Arrange the eggplant slices on two baking sheets and season with salt. Let the eggplant sweat for 20 minutes before wiping off the water and salt with clean paper towels.
- Combine the panko with Erbe di Sicilia and Garlic Salt in a medium sized bowl.
- Set up a dredging line by placing the flour in one bowl, whisking 3 eggs in another bowl with a splash of water, and placing the breadcrumb mixture last.
- Begin dredging the eggplant slices, one at a time, by coating a slice of eggplant with all-purpose flour, then dunking it into the whisked eggs, and finally placing it in the bowl with the breadcrumbs to coat both sides evenly. Place the crumbed eggplant slice back onto the baking sheet and continue in this fashion until every eggplant has been coated.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bring a large pan over medium heat and add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil. Place 4-5 eggplant into the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd them as they won’t gain a nice brown if they’re too crowded. Sear until the crumbs are golden brown, roughly 2-3 minutes, and flip over to gain the same color on the other side. Remove to a towel lined baking sheet to soak up any excess oil and proceed with the remaining eggplant.
- When you’re ready to assemble your eggplant parm, spoon a generous layer of Basil Marinara into the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Arrange an even layer of fried eggplant overtop of the marinara, then place a slice of mozzarella on top of each eggplant, followed by a spoonful of marinara and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat an additional layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve with freshly cracked black pepper and fresh basil.