In case you didn’t know, I don’t eat meat. I still eat fish – which makes me a pescetarian  – which is kind of an unnecessarily fancy word.

Anyway, I really don’t miss meat at all, and this recipe of mine is a true testament of that: Eggplant Parmigiana.

Before I ruled meat out a year ago, I used to make chicken parmigiana all the time. I was home recently and since the family was planning to eat chicken parm, I grabbed an eggplant at the store and threw something together.

When you pull the dish out of the oven, the eggplant is savory and so tender, it just falls apart with the swipe of a fork. It’s a hot, slightly gooey delicacy.

I’ve perfected the recipe, and here it is.

Eggplant Parmigiana

You’ll need:

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 cups of panko bread crumbs
  • 1 package of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I used a Cabernet sauce)
  • salt and pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions after the photo…

To make:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Create an assembly line – put flour in one shallow dish, season liberally with salt and pepper, fluff with a fork. To the right of the flour dish, create an egg wash by beating 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in another shallow dish. For the third shallow dish, combine panko bread crumbs, 1 cup shredded parmesan, chopped parsley, chopped thyme and garlic powder – stir.

Cut the top off your eggplant and then slice off the bottom, so the vegetable doesn’t roll when standing upright. Carefully slice the outer skin from the eggplant. Then, cut thin slices of the eggplant, running the knife from top to bottom down the length of the eggplant. The slice should be about half a centimeter thick. Discard skins, top and bottom pieces.

Take the eggplant slices through the assembly line: working with one at a time, fully cover each slice in a layer of flour, knocking off any excess. Then, dredge the floured eggplant in the egg wash on both sides, fully coating each slice and let the excess egg drip off. Finally, place the egg washed eggplant in the panko mixture and cover liberally. Repeat with all eggplant slices.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Working in batches, place two slices in pan at a time and cook until each side is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side. Feel free to drizzle a bit more olive oil in the pan for each batch.

Place browned slices in a baking dish, cover fully with 1 jar of marinara sauce. Use a spatula to spread the sauce over the eggplant. Sprinkle the top with remaining shredded parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve hot and with pasta, if you wish.

Makes about 3-4 servings with 2 slices per person.