OK, are you ready? Here we go....
Read on for Eggplant Parmesan Recipe instructions...
Important Note: You need to plan ahead for this recipe. I recommend making the sauce the night before and starting the Eggplant early in the morning. The Eggplant slices need to be pressed to remove any water from them and they will have to sit for a good 4 to 5 hours or so. More about the Eggplant press below.
Pay attention now, there are very specific direction here, one false move and wammo! Yucky eggplant.
You will need to wash the eggplants and then peel them. Use a potato peeler or are very sharp knife. After you have peeled the eggplants you will then have to make eggplant slices. You will want to make the eggplant slices about 1/4" thick or a little less.
Now this part is oh so important!!! So listen up. ~ Gently layer the eggplant slices into a large strainer, (place the strainer on top of a plate for drainage). Put the eggplant slices in the strainer in flat even layers. Add a little salt to each slice as you are layering in the eggplant slices. Once you have all the eggplant in the strainer you will need to get a plate that is slightly smaller than the top of the strainer. Small enough to press down on the eggplant slices. Get something heavy like a few thick books or several plates the same size and place them on top of the plate so as to press down the eggplant slices. What you are trying to achieve is an eggplant press. This will squeeze out any water or oil that is in the eggplants. Let this sit with the weight on top of the eggplant slices for about 4 to 5 hours or so.
Get a large non-stick pan or a well seasoned cast iron skillet and add a thin layer of olive oil to just cover the bottom of the pan (about 1/8" deep). Get oil nice and hot so you can brown the eggplants.
Next (Egging the eggplants)
Note: Some people flour and bread the eggplant, my grandma didn't, so I don't! Beat (4 or 5) eggs into a wide flat bowl and add a little milk. Mix well and add a little black pepper to the egg mix. Then dip the eggplant slices into the egg mix. Important Note: Try to evenly spread the egg over the eggplant slice so it's totally covered with egg. Now drop the eggplant slice covered with egg into the oil, which has been heating up while you've been doing this. Fry the slices until they are golden brown on each side. You will have to flip them while frying. Then place the fried slices onto a plate with about 3 pieces of paper towels, so they can drain well. Also take 3 pieces of paper towels and put them on top and press to remove excess oil. Replace top greasy paper towels with new paper towels which you will place the next layer of fried eggplant slice on. Repeat this system of draining until all slices are fried.
At this point you will want to pre-heat your oven to 350 Degrees F.
You will need a 14"x10" baking pan or as close to that size as you can get. Add a thin layer of Anthony's Pasta Sauce to the bottom of the baking pan. (Just enough to cover the bottom.)
Add one layer of Eggplant Slices. Important Note: Do not overlap slices. Fill up the entire bottom of pan with one layer of Eggplant slices.
Then add some more of Anthony's Pasta Sauce on each of the slices, just enough to cover each slice. You will want to also add a little bit of sauce in-between the eggplant slices filling up all the wholes and crevices. Spread the sauce with the back of a large spoon.
At this point you will want to get the Mozzarella and grate it all with a grater. You will also at this point need to finely chop up some fresh parsley (about 1/2 cup or so).
Now you should have a pan with sauce, one layer of eggplant slices and a thin layer of sauce on top of that. At this point you will now need to add the following: Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese, enough to lightly cover all the sauce, add some grated Mozzarella cheese, a thin layer, and sprinkle on just a little bit of fresh finely chops parsley, and add a touch of black pepper.
Now add another layer of eggplant slices and repeat previous process, leaving out the pepper. Sauce, Mozzarella, fresh parsley, Parmesan cheese.
Add a third and final layer of eggplant slices. (You can add mozzarella on top or not. I have made it both ways, both are good). Just add a thin layer of Anthony's Pasta Sauce over everything, including filling in all the holes and crevasses and corners. Smooth all this out with the back of a large spoon. Then add a thin sprinkling of Parmesan on the very top.
Important note about the eggplant layers:
When layering the eggplant slices, feel free to stager them, they don't have to stack on top of each other.
Now you need to get some tin foil and cover the top of the pan. Place the pan in your pre-heated oven for about 40 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 10 - 15minutes. If it is watery, you want the water to boil off. Important Note: Watch this part closely, you don't want to burn the top. When finished cooking let the eggplant Parmesan pan site for about 10 - 15 minutes so everything can settle or else it might be soupy when you serve.
As a side dish with Anthony's Pasta sauce, Meatballs and Braciole. Now that good eating!
It is mandatory that you have garlic bread with this meal!
That's it! You're done..... Easy as Pie!
Here are some blow-up photos of Eggplant Parmesan in progress...