Grossy's Eggplant Parmesan

My Dad and Bimpy are huge New York Yankees fans, so trips to Yankee Stadium were a regular occurrence throughout my childhood. Outside food was strictly prohibited in the ball park, but Bimpy would somehow smuggle in a feast for us every time (because Bimpy makes the rules).


My favorite secret stadium meal was a giant loaf of Italian bread cut in half, hollowed out, and absolutely stuffed with Eggplant Parmesan. No, I'm not kidding—Bimpy literally snuck in Eggplant Parmesan to Yankee games, and it was always enough to get each of us through the entire game, which if memory serves me well, last about 97 hours. Wow, I love baseball.


As an Italian-American, eating Eggplant Parmesan is as natural and frequent as breathing. This classic Italian dish might as well come out of our sink faucets, that's how much consumption occurs. This version, just like most of my recipes, is my take on Eggplant Parmesan based on all the recipes I grew up eating. It's easy, laid back, and you can make as much of it as you like! It's what baseball fans might even call a home run!

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Grossy's Marinara

Large purple eggplant

Kosher salt

Eggs

All-Purpose flour

Olive oil

Grated parmesan cheese

Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

WHAT YOU'LL DO:

PLOT TWIST: I am not giving amounts for the ingredients in this recipe, as Eggplant Parmesan can be made in small, medium, or large amounts and with ingredients that are mostly found in the pantry or your fridge. This is more of a "method" than a true recipe and gives you creative freedom to just kinda go with it. I want my laid-back, easy breezy attitude to encourage you to have fun! You truly cannot mess this one up.


So first thing's first—you'll want to slice your eggplant into ¼" to ½" thick rounds. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Salt both sides of the eggplant rounds with kosher salt, then layer your rounds with paper towels in between each layer until all are salted and tucked into bed.


Place a second baking sheet on top of your layered eggplant slices, then place some heavy books on top. What we are doing here is sweating excess water from the eggplant, which will prevent soggy Eggplant Parmesan (which is fun for exactly no one). The salt draws the water out of the eggplant, and the weight of the books helps that happen.


Leave your eggplant to sweat for at least 20 minutes. You can go as long as you like. The paper towels should be nice and wet when you are done.


Once your eggplant is done sweating, set up your dredging station. Fill one bowl with flour and one bowl with scrambled eggs. Depending on the amount of eggplant you are making, you will maybe need to add more as you go here, which is part of the fun.

I dredge all of my eggplant in one run as it makes frying them easier. If you have a kitchen pal, you can tag-team, which is fun too.


Here is the VERY IMPORTANT dredging order:

  1. Flour

  2. Egg

  3. Flour, again

Per usual, we don't seek perfection here. Just have fun, make a mess, and dredge with all your heart.


Heat up a thin layer of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. You can use any neutral oil here as well. Fry your eggplant on each side for a few minutes, until crisp and brown. Remember, you are not cooking the eggplant fully here, that will happen in the oven. You just want a nice crisp on the outside.


You may have to swap your oil a few times, and the flour/egg mixture can burn in the oil. This is why we use a thin layer of oil. You can (carefully) wipe the oil out of the pan with a paper towel and keep going with fresh oil. This step is the trickiest part of the recipe, but I promise you no matter how lightly fried or deeply burnt your eggplant may end up, it will still be delicious in the end!


Place your crisped eggplant on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Fry until completion.


Grab your eggplant, marinara, grated parmesan and mozzarella slices. Select your baking dish by eyeballing how much eggplant you have and how big of a dish you may need (on this day, I used a nice deep oven safe skillet). You can absolutely use whatever you like, and you can even use a couple of pans! Sometimes I like to use two and freeze one for later. Eggplant Parmesan is a lovely dish to defrost and bake—it really holds up!


Now we start to layer, and that means a bit of marinara on the bottom of your dish to get things going! Next, we place a layer of eggplant, followed by more sauce and both cheeses on top. Repeat this layering until you run out of eggplant. I usually will gently push things down into the pan to make room for the extra last layer! Top off your last layer with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. And now she's ready for the oven.


Bake, uncovered, at 350º for at least 45 minutes. You can keep going until the top is as dark and crispy as you like.


Serve warm, ideally with some chunks of bread! Enjoy!


Make it step-by-step with me below!

LET'S DO THIS ONE STEP AT A TIME:

1. Grab your eggplants and tell them you have big plans for them!

2. Slice your eggplants into ¼ to ½" thick rounds.

3. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Salt both sides of the eggplant rounds with kosher salt.

4. Layer your rounds, with paper towels in between, until all are salted and tucked into bed.

5. Place a second baking sheet on top of your layered eggplant slices, then add some heavy books on top. What we are doing here is sweating excess water from the eggplant, which will prevent soggy Eggplant Parmesan. The salt draws the water out of the eggplant, and the weight of the books helps that happen.


Leave your eggplant to sweat for at least 20 minutes. You can go as long as you like. The paper towels should be nice and wet when you are done.

6. Once your eggplant is done sweating, set up your dredging station. Fill one bowl with flour and one bowl with scrambled eggs. Depending on the amount of eggplant you are making, you will maybe need to add more as you go here, which is part of the fun.

7. I dredge all of my eggplant in one run as it makes frying them easier. If you have a kitchen pal, you can tag-team, which is fun too.


Here is the VERY IMPORTANT dredging order:

  1. Flour

  2. Egg

  3. Flour, again

Per usual, we don't seek perfection here. Just have fun, make a mess, and dredge with all your heart.

8. Heat up a thin layer of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. You can use any neutral oil here as well.

9. Fry your eggplant on each side for a few minutes, until crisp and brown. Remember, you are not cooking the eggplant fully here, that will happen in the oven. You just want a nice crisp on the outside.


You may have to swap your oil a few times, and the flour/egg mixture can burn in the oil. This is why we use a thin layer of oil. You can (carefully) wipe the oil out of the pan with a paper towel and keep going with fresh oil.


This is the trickiest part of the recipe, but I promise you no matter how lightly fried or deeply burnt your eggplant may end up, it will still be delicious in the end!

10. Place your crisped eggplant on a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Fry until completion.

11. Grab your eggplant, marinara, grated parmesan and mozzarella slices. Select your baking dish by eyeballing how much eggplant you have and how big of a dish you may need (on this day, I used a nice deep oven safe skillet). You can absolutely use whatever you like, and you can even use a couple of pans! Sometimes I like to use two and freeze one for later. Eggplant Parmesan is a lovely dish to defrost and bake—it really holds up!

12. Now we start to layer, and that means a bit of marinara on the bottom to get things going!

13. Eggplant comes next, nice and cozy.

14. Another nice layer of marinara.

15. Toss on some parmesan cheese and mozzarella slices.

16. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by sauce and cheeses. Keep going until you run out of eggplant. I usually will gently push things down into the pan to make room for the extra last layer!

17. Top off your last layer with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese. And now she's ready for the oven.


Bake, uncovered, at 350º for at least 45 minutes. You can keep going until the top is as dark and crispy as you like.

18. She's gorgeous! Serve warm out of the oven, and don't forget to have some bread nearby for sopping up and dipping!


Enjoy!