We are big eggplant eaters over here but never do we bake or fry , unless I am making eggplant parmesan. This recipe for Baked Eggplant has been on a regular rotation since coming back from Italy. It is that good, as well as super easy to make.
While we were in Puglia visiting friends, Adele, showed us her favorite way to use eggplant. She said she never fries it, as baked is easier not to mention healthier for you. I have baked as well as fried eggplant before but I loved her method, and have adopted the same technique in my kitchen. It is so much more flavorful than how I use to bake eggplant.
The secret? Mixing a generous handful of parmesan cheese into the beaten eggs. Yep, it is that simple, Parmesan cheese. Adele said “this way you do not need to salt the recipe as the cheese is doing it for you.” This is an amazing woman with years of cooking experience over me, she is 75, guided me to a new way of baking eggplant. I watched, and made a little cooking video. Then I came home and started baking eggplant, weekly, until I got the measures down to share with you.
You could add additional seasonings to the breading portion of the recipe but I don’t and neither does Adele. I keep it super simple, and then I add seasonings at the end depending on what else I am making. This recipe can go from Italian to Middle Eastern in a snap by changing how you serve it and with what seasonings. Sometimes we enjoy it as a main entree with a rich tomato sauce served alongside, or a garlicky yogurt. The other night I served it alongside a classic roasted chicken with a heavy dusting of fresh herbs.
- Use Italian Eggplant instead of Globe if you can find it. Usually in season in the Fall, and comes in a variety of colors from deep purple to white. It is more flavorful.
- A bread knife slices Eggplant so much better than a regular cooking knife. Very clean and uniform slices every time.
- Pecorino cheese also works in place of Parmesan.
- Use a variety of fresh minced or chopped herbs. I like using oregano, marjoram, mint and also dill.
- 1 1/2 pound eggplant - a little smaller or bigger is fine too
- 2 large eggs or 3 medium
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1 1/2 cups panko or breadcrumbs
- Kosher salt
- a little more than a 1/4 of a cup Olive oil - for the drizzle
Cut the ends off of the eggplant. Then cut into circles, about 1/2” each. You can make them thinner or thicker but cooking time will need to be adjusted. Sprinkle each side with a little salt, then let sit on a plate for 30 minutes. Wipe off the salt with a clean paper towel. DO NOT USE WATER.
Preheat oven to 425.
Lightly oil a baking sheet with some olive oil.
In a shallow bowl beat the eggs with a fork then mix in the parmesan cheese.
Place the panko or breadcrumbs onto a large plate, and mix in a generous grind or two of fresh cracked pepper.
Dip a slice of eggplant into the egg and then into the panko/breadcrumbs. Gently press the crumbs onto each side. Place onto the oiled baking sheet. Repeat.
Once all of the slices are breaded lightly drizzle with some olive oil. Slide into the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes - the side of the eggplant slice on the pan should be lightly golden. Flip over and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Bake for another 20 minutes. Flip and bake for 10 more minutes.
Serve with your favorite tomato sauce or simply with a sprinkle for finely minced herbs. We like using basil, oregano or mint.
I cut the slices about 1/2" thick, you can make them thicker or even thinner, be sure to adjust cooking times.