Eggplant Parmesan – Providence Style

Eggplant pretty

Everyone has a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, so why should you even look at mine? Well, mine is  different. I learned mine from an Italian lady from Providence, RI. they know Italian cooking there.

Mine uses egg instead of breading, so it isn’t doughy – something I hate about most eggplant parms. Also, my eggplant is sliced very thin, so it is lighter in texture. AND mine  only uses Parmesan cheese  (um – it is called eggplant parm – right?) instead of heavy mozzarella or provolone. Plus, even though it is fried, it probably has less calories and is healthier for you. Oh yeah, it tastes great too!

This is probably one of my daughter’s favorite meals. She hovers around to stove while I make it just waiting for the first piece of eggplant to come out of the oil. Many times I have to fight her off with a spatula because she tries to devour all of my fried eggplant before I can transform it into the final dish. That is how good this recipe is.

It may look like it takes a lot of time, but if you prep your space properly, it only takes about 10 minutes to fry the eggplant and then just a few more minutes to assemble the whole thing and you are done. Easy-peesy, lemon-squeezy.

Oh yeah, it is gluten free as well.

Serves 4

  • 1 eggplant, sliced thin (1/4-inch) with the skin left on
  • course salt
  • 2 eggs
  • marinara sauce (mine is homemade – if you use store bought get the best brand you can afford)
  • parmesan cheese

salted eggplantPlace the thinly sliced eggplant in a colander. As you layer the eggplant, sprinkle course salt over the slices. This will remove moisture from the eggplant and make them more pliable. Do not skip this step – it is important.

Let the eggplant slices sit in a sink for about 15 minutes. You will see water droplets all over the slices when they are ready. Rinse the eggplant and pat them dry.

While the eggplant is sweating, mix two eggs, 1 tbsp. of water and a pinch of salt into a shallow bowl. Then place about 2 inches of vegetable oil into a frying pan – I like to use a cast iron pan. Heat on high. You will be able to tell when the oil is at the correct temperature when you drop a small piece of bread into the oil and begins to sizzle and cook immediately.

Fry stationNow set up your frying station. If you look at my picture, you will see that I have my egg wash next to the frying pan with the dry eggplant slices next to the bowl as well. On the left I have placed two paper towels, with four more ready off to the side.

When the oil is ready, dip three to four eggplant slices into the egg wash.  Let the eggwash drip off the slices and then carefully place them into the oil. They will cook quickly, stay at the stove ready to flip them over after about 1 to 1 ½ minutes. The second side will take even less time.

Remove the slices to the paper towels and blot to remove the excess oil. They should be golden brown with little lacy eggy crunchies on the edges. Yum!

Cooked eggplantRepeat this process until all of the eggplant slices have been cooked. You can reserve the slices so that you can assemble the dish later, or just do it immediately. First, place a think layer of marinara in the serving dish, then top with eggplant slices to cover. Then repeat this process until you either get it to the thickness you desire or all eggplant slices are used up.

Or you can make individual towers for a fancier presentation.

Top the dish with a thin layer of sauce and then sprinkle the top with a thin layer of Parmesan cheese. Place the dish in a pre-heated 350° for about 15-20 minutes.

Eggplant ParmLet the dish settle for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven so that it is easier to slice. Serve warm.

In any case, I firmly believe that once you try this method for making Eggplant Parmesan you will never go back. Oh yeah, this method is great for making Zucchini Parmesan as well.

Enjoy!

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