As soon as eggplants show up at our CSA, I start putting eggplant parmesan on my menu plans. It’s just so good! And, every summer, I’m reminded that despite what I’d worked it up to be in my mind, making eggplant parm is really not difficult.
The internet has an infinite number of eggplant parmesan variations. I like to keep mine pretty simple, though there’s definitely room for adaptations if you’re in the mood. Feel free to use fresh herbs, homemade tomato sauce or a different type of breading or cheese. This recipe presents the basic ingredients and steps (and the way I make eggplant parm 99% of the time). All of the steps – salting, breading, pan frying and baking – are easy, but making eggplant parmesan does take a bit of time. Thankfully, most of the time is hands off and is well worth the investment for the final product. Even better, eggplant parmesan is a forgiving dish – no one expects it to look perfect and it doesn’t matter because breaded vegetables, tomato sauce and cheese is a combination that’s guaranteed to taste good. It’s okay if it’s a bit messy.
There is some debate about the necessity of salting eggplant. Certainly, I’m not going to show up in your kitchen and make you do it. Some people say that taking the time to salt eggplant removes bitterness, but others argue that modern eggplants aren’t really bitter anymore. I salt my eggplant slices in order to remove some of the liquid from the vegetable and my final dish; I’m always impressed by how much water pools up on the slices after they’ve been salted and sat for half an hour. But if you’re totally opposed to salting and want to save some time, go for it. And then leave a comment and let me know how it turned out.