Sweet, silky, and absolutely delicious, this breading-free version of eggplant parm made in Italy is well worth trying, especially in late summer when eggplant (and tomatoes!) are at their best. This version has no Parmigiano-Reggiano, and has an incredibly clean, fresh flavor as a result, but feel free to add a dusting of freshly grated cheese to each layer if you prefer.
Why this recipe works:
- This Italian-style version is breading-free, making it even easier to prepare than the Italian-American version.
- A 10-minute rest after baking allows the eggplant to absorb any extra liquid and become incredibly moist and tender.
Note: The tomato sauce here can be as simple as pureed canned tomatoes with a touch of olive oil and salt, or a more involved sauce such as this one made from fresh tomatoes; it should be seasoned with salt in all cases.
- Yield:serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:50 minutes
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 pounds eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce (see note above)
- 3/4 pound shredded fresh mozzarella
- Torn fresh oregano leaves from about 4 sprigs
Preheat oven to 400°F. Fill a large cast iron skillet with 1/2 inch oil and heat over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, fry eggplant slices, turning, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer fried eggplant to a paper-towel lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining eggplant, topping up oil as needed.
In a 6-cup baking dish, arrange a layer of eggplant slices. Top with a thin layer of tomato sauce, followed by shredded mozzarella and oregano leaves. Continue layering eggplant, sauce, cheese, and herbs to fill baking dish. Do not add oregano to the top of the eggplant parmigiana.
Bake eggplant parmigiana until bubbling and browned on top, about 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes to reabsorb juices. Sprinkle with oregano leaves and serve.