Food

Perfect Eggplant Parmesan

Stephen Yasko eggplant
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Eggplant Parmesan

Like all good Italian food, this is not something you start at 4pm to serve at 6:30.  The frying and the putting together should be done over the Sunday Morning News shows and put in the fridge till an hour before serving when you reheat it.    Trust me on that says Steve Yasko.

The other trick to making this the best Parm is to to allow the eggplant disks to rest after you get the flour on them before you dip them back in the egg and then into the breadcrumbs.  And then rest again before you put them in the oil.  About 3-5 minutes each time.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8 People
Author Stephen Yasko

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium Eggplants You can never have too much
  • 2 Pounds Whole Milk Mozzarella Cheese Do NOT use Part Skim and buy 2 pounds in case you want more in there.
  • 3 Cups Breadcrumbs Use Italian seasoned
  • 4 Large Eggs You may need more, you may need less
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Oil or Canola, NOT Olive, for frying
  • 2 Cups Tomato Sauce Sure you can use jar or can, or do the right thing and make it yourself.

Instructions

  1. Slice the Eggplants into 3/4 inch disks.  Not so thin that the breading will over take the eggplant, not so thick that they don't cook fully.  Put in a colander and salt to get the bitter juices out. About 15 minutes.  Rinse and THROUGHLY dry the eggplant.  Let sit for another 10-15 minutes to make sure they are dry or the coating won't stick so good.

    Meanwhile, set up your frying station.  Scramble the eggs, add a little water, and scramble again.  Use a big wide bowl.  Put the flour on a big plate to the left of the eggs.  Put the breadcrumbs on a big plate to the right of the eggs.  This should all be to the left of your stove top.  You may modify the placement to your workflow, but this is how I do it.  I also only use my right hand, which will get caked with the coating, so my left is clean enough to scratch my nose, among other tasks. 

    Put the oil in a deep pan and get to medium heat.  Do not get the oil too hot or the coating will cook before the eggplant.  Actually, don't worry too much about the eggplant being a little undercooked in the frying stage. Most likely that will not happen, and the baking portion will ensure the eggplant gets finished if it's a little underdone in the frying part.

    Dip several pieces of eggplant in the eggs then take each one and pat into the flour to coat.  Move each disk to the side of the plate and let rest.  After you do like five or so, dip the disks back in the egg and then pat into th breadcrumbs.  Let rest again.  Make sure you get good coverage.

    After that good resting, place the disks in the hot oil and fry, turning once, till nice and brown.  Put on a plate with a paper towel and let drain and cool.

    You can get a third cup of coffee now....or if you got a late start and it's past 10:30 am, you can start with the Chianti. 

    **sorry the picture is vertical.  Turn your head or computer to get the right idea.

  2. After they cool, get out an 11x13 baking dish...and get out an 8x8 as a back up in case you made too much.  Slice the Cheese into kind of thick slices, either long or short ways.  You're going to clumps of cheese gooey goodness, so don't shred. You want it uneven.

    Put some sauce on the bottom and smear around. Layer in the Eggplant and put a piece of cheese on each or one piece of cheese on two smaller pieces.  Then top with some more sauce.  Don't drench it, just coat it nice. 

    Repeat till you reach the top of the dish.  Two layers more is what it takes me. Finish with cheese on top.  By now you either proud of yourself for making something so wonderful for your family and friends....or you're on the second bottle of wine and wondering why in hell you're doing this when there's carry out pizza just down the block.

    Trust me, when all is said and done, you'll be happy.

  3. Loosely cover with foil and put in the fridge, or if you serving within a an hour or two just leave on the counter.  Take out of fridge about an hour or so before and let to come to room temperature.  This allows it to warm more evenly.  Heat the oven to 350 and bake for about 30-45 minutes till nice and hot.  Stick a metal knife in the middle to check the temp or be fancy and use a meat thermometer. Leave the foil on for the first half hour then take off and let it melt real good.  You may need to use the broiler at the end to get the top layer cooked...but sober up and make sure don't burn the cheese.  You'll note I had some wine cooking the one in the pictures.

    Let rest 15 minutes or so before slicing up and serving.  Enjoy

    Stephen Yasko eggplant
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Stephen Yasko

Stephen Yasko is a Public Radio and Media Executive and Nonprofit Executive Director. Yasko is the Founding General Manager of WTMD 89.7 FM in Baltimore where he took a neglected asset to a top 10 NPR Music radio station. He moved WTMD from a basement hovel to a state of the art Broadcast facility located in the center of Towson, MD.