Not to overstate anything, but I AM AN ITALIAN FOOD GODDESS!!
Okay, no, not really. I have my failures in Italian foods. But if it’s an Italian dish, the odds are better than average that I will not only replicate the recipe, but make it better and garner “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” from those who eat the meal.
To put it plainly, Giada De Laurentiis can kiss my pale, white, Scotch-Irish cheeks.
Okay. I should be a tad more humble, I know, I know. But this dish came out very nicely. The key components here are to use a nice, homemade tomato sauce (I used a variation of a Puttanesca sauce), add spices to the flour so that the breaded part of the eggplant has it’s own flavor, and finally, use decent mozzarella cheese.
If you are familiar with Italian recipes, the below should be considered more of a guideline, with experimentation to be used in the areas mentioned above (sauce, breading, herbs, etc).
Side note, Tara mentioned that this tasted like baked catfish to her, which I chalked up to the use of anchovies. It should be noted that the “catfish” remark was meant as a compliment.
- 2 1/2 lbs. eggplant, sliced
- Kosher Salt
- 1 cup flour
- 2 Tablespoons white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 5 lg. eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup Percorino Romano cheese, shredded
- 2 cups Corn oil
- 12 oz. Mozzarella cheese, sliced
- Tomato sauce (See recipe Below)
- 1/2 c. parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Fresh Basil
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 28 oz/ can whole, peeled tomatoes
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 3 sprigs of fresh oregano
- 4 Anchovy fillets
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the sauce, mix all of the ingredients into a stock pot. Place over medium low heat and bring to a simmer (approx 185 degrees F). Cook for at least an hour. Do not allow to come to a boil. Remove Sprigs before using. Season to taste.
On to the eggplant…
Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Place them in a strainer and salt. Let the eggplant drain for 30 minutes and then pat dry .
While letting eggplant drain, beat the 5 eggs in with the water and add the Romano cheese.
In a large, sealable baggy, combine the flour, white pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano and bread crumbs. Shake together well, in order to combine.
Pour the oil into a skillet and bring up to medium high heat.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Put 4 pieces of eggplant into bag of flour and shake coating each piece, and then remove and dip eggplant into egg and cheese mix. Place each slice into frying pan. Brown each side until it reaches a golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on paper towel. Repeat until all the eggplant has been used.
Place the eggplant into a baking dish. They should be set as follows – One layer eggplant, then top with the tomato sauce, add a layer of mozarella, and finally top with one leaf of basil. Repeat this layering process until the eggplant is gone. Sprinkle the top with shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese.
Put into the oven and allow to bake until Mozzerella cheese melts and starts to brown..about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes.
Serve with Pasta.