Baked eggplant parmesan is one example of how good simplicity can taste. Crispy eggplant coated with gluten-free bread crumbs. A bright tomato sauce. And bubbling layers of cheese.
The secret to baked eggplant parmesan: Salt and press. Salting your eggplant pulls out excess liquid, which can taste bitter. Pressing it ensures that your meaty slices that don’t soak up its weight it oil.
If your looking for a nutrient-packed accompaniment, try these Bacon Mushroom Meatballs in Fire-Roasted Tomatoes – the recipe calls for liver! On the lighter side, Tomatoes Provencal will do you right.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- 1h 30m
- 2h 30m
For the eggplant:
- 2 large eggplants
- 2 tbsp. coarse sea salt
- 3 oz parmesan cheese
- 4 c almond flour
- coarse sea salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 c arrowroot
- 4 eggs
- 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
For the tomato sauce:
- 42 oz diced tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 4 tbsp. dried basil
- 2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 8 oz whole milk mozzarella
- 1 oz parmesan cheese
- 1 handful fresh basil, for garnish
- Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/4 inch-thick rounds.
- To make the eggplant: In a large bowl, toss half of the eggplant slices and half of the sea salt; transfer salted eggplant to colander set over bowl. Repeat with remaining eggplant and salt. Weigh down the eggplant with a stack of cookbooks (or equivalent weight). Let stand until eggplant releases about 2 tablespoons liquid, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Arrange eggplant slices on a triple layer of paper towels; cover with a triple layer of paper towels. Firmly press each slice to remove as much liquid as possible, then wipe off excess salt.
- While eggplant is draining, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-thirds of the oven, place rimmed baking sheets on both racks, and heat oven to 425F.
- Grate the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. In a pie plate or shallow dish, combine almond flour, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Combine arrowroot and a few grinds of black pepper in large zipper-lock bag; shake to combine. Beat eggs in second pie plate. Place 8 to 10 eggplant slices in bag with flour and shake to coat. Dip each slice in egg, let excess egg run off, then coat evenly with breadcrumb mixture, pressing to make a thick coating. Set aside. Repeat with remaining eggplant.
- Remove preheated baking sheets from oven; add enough oil to each sheet to evenly coat. Place half of breaded eggplant on each sheet in single layer; bake until eggplant is well browned and crisp, about 24 minutes, switching and rotating baking sheets after 8 minutes, and flipping eggplant slices with wide spatula after 16 minutes. Do not turn off oven.
- To make the sauce: While eggplant bakes, process half of the diced tomatoes in food processor or blender until almost smooth.
- Mince the garlic. Heat olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes in large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat for a minute to release the flavor into the oil; stir in pureed and remaining tomatoes, basil and oregano. Bring sauce to boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced, about 15 minutes. Season to taste.
- To assemble: Shred mozzarella and chop basil. Spread one-third tomato sauce in bottom of 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Layer in half of eggplant slices, overlapping slices to fit; distribute second third of sauce over eggplant; sprinkle with half of mozzarella. Layer in remaining eggplant and layer remaining third of sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan and remaining mozzarella.
- Bake until bubbling 15 minutes. Turn oven to broil and watch carefully while it browns - 2-3 minutes.
- Cool 10 minutes, scatter basil over top, and serve.