My Favorite Dish – Eggplant Parmigiana

My favorite dish in the world.

Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmigiana) – the dish I cut my teeth on. Loved it then, love it now, and make it often. Imagine perfection: the golden eggplant sauteed in a tasty egg wash, baked in the oven with tangy concentrated tomato sauce, sweet basil, creamy melted mozzarella, with a nutty parmigiana reggiano crust. It’s my favorite dish, rich and satisfying; it can keep a man alive for days.

Of course that’s assuming you’re lucky enough to possess eggplant parmigiana left overs after your meal is done. Because it actually tastes better the next day after some overnight magic melding of flavors. If you’re the preserving type, consider portioning your left-overs and freezing. Impress the unexpected and unsuspecting dinner guest with tomorrow’s eggplant parmigiana or satiate yourself on a night when there’s just nothing else to eat. Or, mix it up a bit. Eggplant parmigiana makes a great panino (sandwich) especially with a soft, chewy bread like ciabatta for tomorrow’s lunch. The possibilities are endless.

I often serve the melanzane alla parmigiana with roasted sausage. A simple arugula salad with EVOO and wine vinegar is a great accompaniment. I put the salad on the table and my guests can have it with the eggplant and sausage or as a separate following course.

Can’t talk about Eggplant Parmigiana without debating breadcrumbs. I often fry eggplant coated with breadcrumbs. Those crunchy slices are delicious and can be used in many dishes but I just don’t recommend using a breadcrumb coating in this recipe. You risk crisp and crunchy for soggy, a dangerous detraction from the dish. Mother made it best. She always does.

But I pass on to you the delicious, the dynamic, the perfect left-over, Eggplant Parmigiana.

For the Sauce

Ingredients

2-tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled (Ba-Boom)
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, any peel or stems removed
1 sprig fresh basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1-teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Put a pot over medium-high heat.
Add the olive oil and the garlic
Saute the garlic for about a minute in the hot oil
Add the tomatoes, basil and oregano to the pot, stir well
Put the lid ajar on the pot and simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and has reduced by about about a quarter in volume

For the Eggplant

Ingredients

1 large eggplant
2-tablespoons sea salt (to drain the bitter liquid from the eggplant)
1 cup flour for dusting the eggplant
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Italian flat parsley, chopped
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
1 pound fresh mozzarella sliced thin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or if using only olive oil, 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons canola or your favorite oil
10 basil leaves, or more as needed

Directions

Remove both ends of the eggplant
Cut the eggplant in about 1-inch slices
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the slices and line them in colander, put it in the sink as the bitter dark liquid drains
Wash the slices well and pat dry.
In a bowl, add the eggs, pecorino, parsley, salt and black pepper and beat well
Put a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil to the pan and bring it to a ripple
Put the flour in a bowl and lightly flour the eggplant slices
Dip the slices in the egg wash and coat well
Fry the eggplant until both sides are golden brown
Remove to a platter lined with paper towel
Continue frying the eggplant and add more oil as needed.

Assembly

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
In a large baking dish, spread some sauce on the bottom
Add a single layer of the fried eggplant slice (save the best slices for the top layer)
Put a dollop of sauce on top of each slice
Rip the basil leaves and add a piece on top of each slice
Liberally sprinkle the grated parmigiano all over
Repeat this process until all the eggplant is layered in the dish
For the top layer add the mozzarella and then sprinkle of grated parmigiana all over
Bake the eggplant for 20-30 minutes or until the top begins to turn golden brown
Serve immediately or at room temperature

58 Replies to “My Favorite Dish – Eggplant Parmigiana”

  1. Johnny, I love your videos and this one in particular, as you’ve made me an eggplant fan. But I’m sorry to report the link to your text recipe is bad, it just takes viewers to Gianni tv and I can no longer find this recipe there. Please have your web master solve the problem as I’ve been looking forward too melee this for friends.

  2. Gianni…

    Just found your website, and it’s exciting to see authentic Italian cooking. Many of the recipes I remember growing up in our Italian family and our Sunday family and holiday meals. Hopefully you show us your chicken marsala recipes. Brings back good memories.

    Can you please forward your written Eggplant Parmigiana recipe? Keep up the good work as I will now be following.

    Don Diotallevi

  3. Argh!! The recipe isn’t appearing on this page. I want to make this dish so badly. Gianni… what’s the recipe?

    Love from London

  4. I made this for my mother’s birthday dinner tonight. She’s a vegetarian and doesn’t get pampered very often that way b/c the rest of the family is composed of meat eating heathens like me. She loved it! I loved it! Even my step-father, who is a proud and determined carnivore, loved it! Thank you!

    One thing. In the directions you say to place the eggplant into the egg wash first and then the flour. In the video, you put them through the flour first and then the egg wash (which makes more sense). I followed the video on that note.

    Awesome recipe even though it took me forever to make. I’m sure I’ll hear requests for it often.

  5. I do not even understand how I ended up here, but I believed this put
    up was once great. I don’t understand who
    you’re however certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to are not already.
    Cheers!

    1. Thanks for your support. I’m taking a break from the site right now but I can feel an urge to write some more building. Stay tuned.

  6. Gianni,

    I have made the eggplant quite a few times and will make it again this weekend. What do you suggest might be good to serve with the eggplant? Meatballs? Spaghetti?

    Jeff

    1. Ciao Jeff.

      Usually I serve the eggplant all by itself for a vegetarian treat. When I’m in the mood I roast Italian sausage and serve that alongside the eggplant parmigiana. Meatballs would pair well too. Keep on cooking.

      Buon appetito!
      –Gianni

  7. Ciao Gianni! I’m making this Eggplant Parm today and using the video for the approximate measurements of ingredients. The written instructions are not on this page. Where else could I find it?

    Can’t wait till you come back this Fall for new recipes! My boss is Italian and I’m going to impress him with your recipes. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get a raise -lol

    1. Ciao Linda. Sorry for the inconvenience. The recipe is back. We just released the first of 2 recipes just in time for Thanksgiving. First up today, Mashed potatoes flavored with mellow roasted garlic and buttery, fruity finishing olive oil. Let me know how the eggplant turned out.
      Buon appetito!
      –Gianni

      1. I made it using 2 eggplants and it fed 6 people besides myself. Raving reviews -all said (including boss) it was “high-end restaurant quality” !!! I served it with a side of Angel Hair Pasta , homemade Sunday Gravy and no-knead Artisan bread and finally a small salad. Kudos to you and I gave you the credit. This was my 1st attempt at Eggplant Parm and won’t be my last. Thank you for re-posting the written recipe as I’ll use this in the future. I’ll check out your Fall recipes now. Keep doing what you’re doing – it is much appreciated.

  8. This was so good, that; myself, eldest daughter & grandson finished off the whole dish in one sitting. With a side salad and a glass of chilled white wine it went down a treat.
    I worked for many years overseas for Technip Italy in Saudi, Qatar & Canada. It was the custom to alternate the cooking every weekend for each person, so I had a good apprenticeship in Italian taste buds, ( even for an Englishman!!). I just wish I had known this dish at that time.
    Please continue your sterling efforts and warm regards.
    Timatao.

  9. I leave a response when I especially enjoy a post on a website or I have something to add to the conversation. Usually it is a result of the fire communicated in the post I looked at.
    And on this article My Favorite Dish – Eggplant Parmigiana | Gianni’s North Beach.
    I was actually excited enough to leave a thought 😛 I actually do have some
    questions for you if you tend not to mind. Could it be just me or do some of the comments appear like coming
    from brain dead people? 😛 And, if you are posting on additional online sites, I’d like to keep up with you.
    Could you make a list every one of all your community
    sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or
    twitter feed?

  10. Gianni, this is the best eggplant parm ever. I make it all the time now, follow your recipe almost exactly (I add a little more cheese to the egg wash, because fried cheese…you know). Also, the sauce recipe is the only way I make tomato sauce now; so easy and so good! Thanks a million!

    1. Nothing wrong with adding more grated cheese to the egg wash. I love that nutty fried cheese flavor too. Keep on cooking!
      Buon appetito!
      –Gianni

  11. Gianni, God Bless You for posting these recipes and bringing back memories of my Nona in her kitchen! You are the real deal, authentic proud Italian to the core. I love your website and your videos are always entertaining and detailed!! Eggplant Parm has always been my favorite but we grew up on the breadcrumb dipped version. I made this following your recipe without breadcrumbs and like it much better!

    Please settle a bet for me between my brother and I. You refer to basil by its Italian name that starts with a V (like I do). What is the correct spelling/pronunciation?!

    Thanks again!

    1. Ciao Frank. The Neapolitan word for basil is vasinicola. Often the last vowel is omitted and growing up in Jersey it sounded like vasinagol to me.
      Thanks for your support and for your no breadcrumbs vote for eggplant parmigiana. Keep on cooking.
      Buon appetito!

      –Gianni

    2. Gianni….Frank has it right….you are the real deal! I just finished a batch of eggplant…ready to put in the oven….I didn’t have the canola oil so used coconut oil….tried one….they are absolutely delish….Also didn’t have the fresh basil for the sauce….so had to use bay leaf (and a little dill on the eggplant themselves….Smells great…we’ll see when they come out of the oven.
      I must have sent your website to a dozen people by now….mostly those who should invite me to dinner ha ha.
      Keep up the good work!
      xxoo

  12. This morning my manfriend came up from the garden with three baby globe eggplants. After glancing at them and pondering what to do; I settled on making this. I’ve just finished crafting this and, ideally, would love to have assembled and refrigerated overnight. Can’t do it! Must chow it and am eagerly awaiting its arrival to the dinner table. Thank you for your great recipes and videos. Make more! I love making your pizza dough and have taught many people how to do it.

    1. Dear Gianni,

      I just discovered you on the web 2 weeks ago while looking up
      San Marzano tomatoes. I had been making my sauce with them
      for a while and they make a great diffrence. I watched your vidios
      and discovered that you made your eggplant almost the same as
      I do,no breadcrumbs…and same egg mixture. So last week I made
      the Sunday Gravy(we call it SAUCE in CT.) It came out great!! Last
      night I made your favorite Eggplant Parmagiana. It was just delicious
      My husband loved it and we will be having the left overs tonight.I usually
      peal it and layer it with a lot of sauce and grated Picorino Romano cheese
      then bake it.I made it last night just like yours and that”s the way I”ll make it
      from now on. Thanks so much . You’re a great cook!

      1. Thanks Betty. I’m pleased that the recipe worked for you and that you had leftovers to enjoy. I think eggplant parmigiana tastes even better the next day.

  13. My mom and I have always made it with breadcrumbs, so I was pretty excited to try this out last night, when I got some eggplants given to me. It was different and neat, but I’m not sure if I’m sold on no breadcrumbs yet.

    My wife and I made a bunch so we had plenty left over for today, and as a late breakfast I reheated some and threw an egg on it, pretty damned tasty!
    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-42yRwhoMnZw/TzKkrC85sMI/AAAAAAAACcQ/s76b6kgNewQ/s400/IMAG0219.jpg

    1. Ciao Jason. Breadcrumbs or not? It’s totally your choice. Sounds like you’re on to a new variation on Eggs Benedict. How about a piece of toated Italian bread, an eggplant slice, a slice of prosciutto topped with an egg? Eggs Benedetto!

      1. Now there’s an idea! A nice piece of toasted sourdough, a slice of eggplant with the breadcrumbs, proscuitto, an egg, then a big dollop of sauce.

        I’m going to have to try that next time, thanks!

  14. nice job John, I make mine exactly like your sister. Although adding the Locatelli to the egg wash is a nice touch and will make a half pan like that to give it a try…as always John…nicely done.

      1. Hello, I just watched your video on Youtube and came over to look over the written instructions. In the recipe it says the oven is 350 degrees, but here you say 415, which is it?

        Thank you, can’t wait to try this as soon as our eggplant in the garden is ripe. We are growing both black beauty (regular purple) and a white variety called Casper, do you think both would work in this dish?

  15. Ciao, Gianni —

    Really like your blog and all the good things about it. I would like to suggest a couple of things re the melanzana.
    I think 3/4 inch might be a typo. It’s too thick, 1/2 inch would be better. The marinara needs something more, such as a wine reduction. All the melanzane I’ve cooked have been without an egg and flour coating. Yes, I know that the EVOO gets sucked up this way, but I think it adds more flavor. I don’t like the eggy flavor, better this batter for gray sole. Just a suggestion from an old timer. You know how we are about food.

    1. Ciao Paul. Thanks for your email. You’re right, I like my eggplant slices to be thin, about 1/4 inch or so. I changed the recipe directions. Grazie. If you want to add red wine to the sauce add a 1/2 cup or so after sauteeing the garlic and let it reduce a bit before adding the tomatoes and other ingredients.

      I make a version of eggplant parmigiano without the egg wash too. Just slice the eggplant lengthwise and fry in a combination of canola and EVOO at a high temperature so the eggplant doesn’t absorb too much oil. Drain the fried slices on paper towel. Layer a baking dish with the slices, crushed San Marzano tomatoes, basil leaves, grated parmigiano and fresh mozzarella. Keep making layers until all the eggplant is used. Atop the last layer, make sure the grated parmigiano is the last thing you scatter so that it will form a golden crust. This one is a much quicker preparation and it is delicious.

      BTW, dipping sole in an eggwash before sauteeing is a very old and popular preperation here in San Francisco. I love the crispy fillets with just a squeeze of lemon.

      Keep your insights and recipes coming my way. I appreciate them.

  16. Hi Gianni,
    I think you imprinted eggplant parm in the head of many people. I couldn’t resist so I made some yesterday. Sorry I used breadcrumbs. I let my slices sit with a little salt to draw out the moisture – there was a lot of moisture. It made the fried egglplant drier and crispier. I was lucky – as mom used to say I didn’t get a female eggplant – only a few seeeds.
    Thanks for the reminder of a great favorite.
    Ro

    1. Ciao Ro.

      Don’t be sorry about using breadcrumbs. I love eggplant fried with a breadcrumb coating. They’re so good that I don’t mess with them. I eat them up with just a sprinkle of sea salt. I also bake or broil them topped with a little prosciutto and mozzarella. Thanks for reminding me about Mom’s “femaie eggplant” comment when there weren’t many seeds in the eggplant.

  17. Hey, Gianni:

    Greetings from Vienna.

    I made this for the Euro-spouse the other night. The no-breadcrumb version. It was a big hit!

    But I had to make a modification. Like un uomo senza cervello, I forgot I needed mozzarella so when the time came, I had difficoltà. Instead (forgive me) I used the soft cheese we had on hand—brie.

    But it still came out delizioso. And no breadcrumbs, give me credit for that. I hope I’m not scomunicato.

    1. Ciao John. That was quick thinking. Next time try mozzarella. it’s more subtle and the sweetness of the eggplant will shine through. Keep on cooking!

  18. I was never a huge fan of eggplant parm before, and I think it’s because the ones I’ve tried or made myself were to saucy and mushy and after a few bites I’d had enough. This was very nice. I used two small eggplants and made only two layers. I’m looking forward to leftovers today. I’ve used zucchini in the past instead of eggplant, and since I may have a surplus in the garden I think I’ll try that again using your method. Excellent, excellent recipe Gianni……thank you!

    1. Ciao Patricia. Glad you liked my eggplant parmigiana. The one I made in the video was just 2 medium eggplants and just two layers like you. Zucchini works well in this recipe too. Thanks for reminding me. I’ve got some other zucchini recipes that I’ll do as a Friday Recipe post soon.

  19. Hey Gianni, (John),

    I too enjoy a great eggplant parm. Mom and Aunt Flo made the best or perhaps happy memories made it the best.

    I add a little EVOO to my vegetable oil just cuz that is the way mom did. Thanks for the great recipe I agree it tastes even better the next day.

    I understnd our brother also adds breadcrumbs I am going to try your way.
    Ro

  20. When I was a kid—a long long time ago–we used to fry up the moolinyan which is an approximation of our mispronounced version of melanzane. My mother would cut it up a little thinner than you did, do the salting, then the flour and egg wash. Fry it in some olive oil and we’d sit and eat it as fast as the slices came out of the pan along side a nice bowl of macaroni. Then the best part. With some of the slices after supper she would make up a few sandwiches wrap them in wax paper put them in the ice box and the next day I’d take them to school and later in life to work for lunch. In my mind the best sandwich in the world. Eggplant was one of our family comforts and curealls. My grandmother is said to have brought a dish of fried eggplant to the hospital where my Aunt to-be Esmeralda was trying to recover from a badly broken leg and did, according to legend, solely because of the” moolinyan”.

    Today I still love the golden slices, but I have come to love eggplant parm almost more. Your approach to this classic looks so good, I am going shopping now to cook it for supper tonight.

    1. Ciao Frank. Thanks for sharing your family’s love for eggplant parm. My mother tapped our hand with a wooden spoon to stop our pilfering the golden slices as they came out of the frying pan. She wouldn’t have enough for the parmigiana. I wish I was in your kitchen!

  21. Wow!! You said it would be good and it sure looks it. I’ll be trying this soon. I like how it’s not covered in liquid like most I’ve had. This looks sooooo good. Thanks a lot for sharing. Looks like more points with the wife!! haha
    art

    1. I agree with you it’s one of the best meals from mommy. Agree with your sister the the eggplant should dipped in breadcrumbs. We also skin the eggplant before putting it in the flour, etc. because of the toughness and bitter taste of the skin. Keep up the great work!!

      Spike

      1. My brother and sister have chimed in with their variations to this old family favorite. You can heed their advice or not–it’s all good!

        1. I’m the daughter of Gennaro above (the next generation). Although I’ve never been a big fan of most vegetables, I grew to like this dish almost as much as lasagna. As a young child, the thought of eating eggplant scared me. When my mom would make eggplant parm (Grandma, Gennaro and Gianni’s mother, was her teacher), I started out eating only a small portion. Years later, my brothers, sister, and I came to love this dish too. My dad was disappointed when we acquired a taste for it since that meant there was much less for him!

          1. Ciao Terry. Thanks for your post. My mom really made a good eggplant parmigiana and she taught me and my siblings including your Dad how to make this kitchen treasure. There’s a split in the family about whether to use breadcrumbs to coat the eggplant slices before frying so we have 2 versions to enjoy. Easy solution if you eat it all up when it’s first served–just make an extra pan so that you have some leftover for the next day. Leftover eggplant parm is absolutely the best vegetarian sandwich in the whole wide world.

Comments are closed.