I love eggplant. I really love it sliced thin, dredged in panko, and crispy crispy crispy.
I also love eggplant parm.
I also love pizza.
So here’s a little recipe that incorporates all of these favorites. I decided to slice the eggplant really thin and dredge it in flour, eggs, and bread crumbs. Then, I baked the eggplant slices and when they were done, I put some sauce, some cheese, THEN some pizza toppings on there, into the oven and voila…
Loaded Eggplant Parm
- 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes
- Tablespoon of olive oil
- Tablespoon or two of unsalted butter
- Heavy pinch of kosher salt
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Red pepper flakes, if desired
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced thin
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 eggs + some water
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- Tiny bit of kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, a tablespoon or two of fresh basil minced
- A ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 shredded or grated Parmesan
- Various pizza toppings (see below for ideas)
Preheat the oven 350. Get yourself a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, set aside.
Place your eggplant on a baking rack. Sprinkle some salt on both sides of the eggplant and let the eggplant soak up the salt. This process will soften the eggplant. Let this sit for about 30-45 minutes. Once done, rinse the eggplants and pat them dry.
While the eggplant is soaking up the salt and softening up, in a small saucepan over medium low heat, combine the olive oil and butter. Once it's warmed (just a couple minutes), add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir for about 30 seconds until it's fragrant, but do not let the garlic brown. Add in the canned tomatoes and heavy pinch of sea salt. Let this simmer while you do the rest.
Now get ready to dredge. Prepare the dredging bowls. In one bowl combine the flour and cornmeal, in another the eggs and some water, and in the last the panko bread crumbs + salt (if you want), fresh cracked pepper, and fresh minced basil.
NOTE ABOUT THE SALT: You may choose to omit the salt all together. Since you salted the eggplant to soften it, there will be some salt already on there, the first time I made this, I made the mistake of over salting. Remember the cheese also has salt in it!
Slice by slice, place the eggplant in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess, then dredge it in the eggs, and lastly, coat the eggplant in the panko. Place onto the prepared baking sheet with parchment paper. Repeat until all eggplant slices have gone through the dredging process.
Spray the eggplant slices with non stick spray and place into your oven. Cook for 15 minutes, flip them, rotate the pan, and spray again with more non stick spray. Place back into the oven for 15 more minutes.
When the eggplants are done, Place about 1/4 cup of sauce on each eggplant. Then add your fresh and shredded mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and whatever toppings you want. Some ideas:
- Turkey Pepperoni
- Turkey Ham
- Sliced olives
- Crumbled Italian chicken or turkey sausage
- Sliced bell peppers
- Dollops of fresh ricotta
- Fresh basil
Place the Loaded Eggplant Parmesans back into the oven under the broiler for no more than 5 minutes. Check after two to make sure nothing is burning. Serve with a nice simple green salad and enjoy!