New Meal Monday: Skillet Eggplant Parm

When it comes to date-night, we typically like to get out for an evening at one of our favorite area restaurants (there are quite a few!); however, sometimes getting out can be a bit of a challenge, so recently I proposed a "date-night-in" and suggested that I'd cook something new for us.  With temperatures taking a dip lately, I was thinking of something warm and comforting.  I was thinking Italian and I know my wife LOVES Eggplant Parm and we never make it at home. It always feels a little too challenging (and like a bit of a mess), but I figured I'd take a crack at this classic meal, as well as seeing if we could keep it a little bit simple.  Well, I'm not sure how simple it was, but it was easy--and I managed to cook and bake it all in one skillet, which made clean-up a little easier! The recipe below serves about 4 people (if served with pasta as we did). Also--if you don't have time you can skip step 1, but I'd recommend it as it strips a bit of the bitterness and moisture from the eggplant!

What you'll need:

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2C Italian Style breadcrumbs
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Whole Milk
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Parsley flakes
  • 1/4C Flour
  • 1 jar basil tomato sauce
  • 1C Oil (approximately)
  • 1/3 C grated Parmesan
  • about 8oz mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper 

How you'll do it:

  1. Slice eggplant into 1/4" thick medallions. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Salt each side and let sit for about 45min-1hr. Then rinse eggplant and pat dry.
  2. While eggplant is sitting, get out 3 bowls. In first bowl, mix flour with 1/4tsp salt and 1/4tsp pepper. In second bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and 1/4tsp salt and 1/4tsp pepper.  In third bowl, mix breadcrumbs with oregano, thyme and parsley.
  3. After drying eggplant dip each slice of eggplant in each bowl in order (flour bowl, egg bowl, breadcrumb bowl) and place back on baking sheet.
  4. In a large cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot enough fry eggplant until golden brown on each side (flipping halfway through--about 2 min per side). Only put as many slices in as you can fit in one layer, remove and place on a clean baking sheet. (You likely only be able to fit 4-6 slices at a time, and will need to do several rounds. Be sure let oil return to heat. One way to test if oil is hot enough is to place the hand of a wooden spoon in oil...if bubbles run up handle, you're ready to go!)
  5. Let eggplant sit and drain 10-15 and let skillet cool. As soon as oil is cool enough, wipe the skillet clean and dry. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Pour 1/3 of sauce into skillet, arrange a layer of eggplant slices (can overlap a bit), sprinkle some of the Parmesan on top and place some of the slices of mozzarella on top. Repeat this step twice more. (or until skillet is full or ingredients are used up!)
  7. Bake 35 min.  While baking prepare your favorite pasta, Serve eggplant on top of pasta and enjoy!