One of my favorite smells is my mom frying at her stove. I could be in my room with the door shut as a teenager and whether it was chicken cutlets, or eggplant, I could sniff that out from a mile away. Okay sounds a little crazy, but seriously, it is one of my favorite smells from when I was growing up.
I would run out to the kitchen to see what she was whipping up. Usually when she fries things she has the lights off and the fan and windows open, no matter what time of year it is in cold Connecticut. She is not a fan of a grease filled kitchen. I would grab a bite of whatever she had sitting on a plate covered in paper towels and she would whack my hand and tell me not to eat it all or to get a glass of water to suppress my appetite before dinner.
Ooh good ol’ mom.
Me on the other hand, I have tried numerous times to recreate her fried creations. I’ve cut the eggplant thing, I’ve cut it thick. I breaded the chicken in different ways, I left the chicken with little to no breading. Nothing ever is the same. So instead of trying to recreate the recipe for you guys and it just not be right… I went in a newer, healthier direction.
I ditched the oils, ditched the frying pan. Basically I ditched everything but the eggplant in my Twice Baked Eggplant Parmigiana. I found the idea on Pinterest, of course, but used my mom’s ingredients for her eggplant parm. In the past year she has become obsessed with panko bread crumbs so of course to add a little extra crunch I used them, but back when I was a teenager Italian bread crumbs would suffice.
Try it out, enjoy the eggplant parm, sans oil and let me know what you think.
1 medium sized eggplant
1 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ lb mozzarella cheese
28 oz tomato sauce
1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease cookie sheet. While preheating slice eggplant into 1/8 inch slices.
2. Beat eggs in bowl adding a splash of water for consistency and pour panko and dried oregano onto separate plate to keep nearby.
3. Dip each slice of eggplant onto egg mixture and immediately into the panko crumbs. Flip to coat the eggplant on both sides as well as around the edges. Place directly onto the cookie sheet. Be careful to not move eggplant around the cookie sheet as the panko will fall off.
4. Continue assembly line until all eggplant is coated and placed on the cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes flipping once in the middle.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you are able to touch the eggplant. Do not turn off oven.
7. Layer the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan with tomato sauce. Place on top a layer of eggplant followed by a light layer of cheese. (Cheese will melt so allow space between chunks of mozzarella.)
8. Continue until all eggplant is in the baking pan. Top with a layer of shredded mozzarella and sprinkle parmigiana cheese on top.
9. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted throughout.
10. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving for the cheeses to settle.