- Japanese eggplant: they're the skinny purple eggplant you might find in your regular grocery store or Asian market. Do not buy them at your regular grocery store though! In my most recent price comparison the Asian market was selling them for 69 cents per pound as opposed to $3.49 a pound at a local grocery store.
- Panko breadcrumbs: these are the best breadcrumbs ever. Period. They can be found in your local grocery store right next to the regular breadcrumbs you buy and they can be used in any recipe that calls for breadcrumbs. Use them in this recipe or on chicken parmesan and you'll see the difference right away. And yes, they just happen to be a Japanese style breadcrumb.
Oh and yes, you don't need any of these fancy Japanese ingredients either. I provide substitutions that will work under normal grocery shopping or pantry conditions. As for the mozzarella, if it is fresh you can slice it in 1/8 inch pieces, for shredded mozzarella you can just sprinkle it on top. This recipe is pretty fail safe.
|Stacked and ready for the oven|
3 medium Japanese (purple) eggplant, or 2 medium black eggplant
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs, or regular breadcrumbs (seasoned or unseasoned will work here)
1 1/2 to 2 cups marinara sauce or tomato sauce
1/2 pound mozzarella
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Canola or vegetable oil
1. Slice eggplant into 3/4 inch pieces and toss with 1 tablespoon of salt. Put this in a colander to drain for 10 to 30 minutes.
2. When the eggplant is done sweating, set up a breading station: put the flour in one bowl, whisk the egg together with the milk in another bowl and put the breadcrumbs into a third bowl.
3. Cover each eggplant piece in flour. Take the floured eggplant piece and completely submerge in the egg mixture. Remove the battered piece of eggplant and drop this into the breadcrumbs and then flip to coat it.
4. Set an oven to 375F and let it preheat while you make the eggplant stacks or layer the eggplant slices in a baking dish.
5. Heat a pan with an 1/8 inch layer of oil in it over medium high heat. In batches, fry each piece of eggplant for 3 minutes and turn them over half way through.
6. When all the eggplant is fried, stack or layer each slice with sauce. Then cover the slices in mozzarella and parmesan cheese. (If you stack them it is helpful to use a skewer to hold them in place.)
7. Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. When it's done baking season with salt and pepper to taste.