This eggplant parmesan recipe is a delicious one-pan dish that will satisfy the whole family. The aubergine is pan-fried in batches until golden and caramelised and then layered between a sweet, garlicky tomato sauce, toasted panko bread crumbs, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Finally it is baked in the oven to get the cheese all melty. Serve it on it own, with a green salad, alongside pasta, or with homemade garlic bread for a delicious and satisfying meal.
One skillet recipe for Parmigiana di Melanzane
Traditionally, the Italian-American version of Parmigiana Di Melanzane is made by breading the eggplant before frying it, whereby the Italian version does not. My version includes breading, but rather than coating the aubergine, I scatter toasted panko breadcrumbs over the eggplant before layering it with cheese. It’s just as easy as the Italian original, but has that added flavour the Italian-American version gets from breadcrumbs. Whatever version you prefer, if you are a fan of eggplant, then you’ll love this recipe.
This comforting dish makes a hearty side or can be served as a completely satisfying meatless main, together with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread.
Key ingredients for eggplant parmesan
Olive oil: Italians love to cook with olive oil. For this recipe, I try to go a little lighter on the oil by using a non-stick skillet, but it is still essential for getting the eggplant rounds golden brown.
Eggplant: For best results choose smaller eggplants, as there are less seeds, less bitterness and less moisture. Choose ones that are smooth and shiny, with no dents.
Tomato sauce: A simple tomato sauce made with store-bought passata with basil, as well as sautéed onion, garlic, chili flakes, and cinnamon. Marinara sauce would also be a good option for this recipe.
Panko breadcrumbs: Japanese style breadcrumbs called panko, are lightly toasted and layered with the eggplant for added texture and flavor.
Mozzarella: You definitely want fresh mozzarella for this dish. As an alternative you could also use “bocconcini” buffalo mozzarella for a creamy and luscious tasting meal.
Parmesan cheese: Eggplant parmesan wouldn’t be complete without some freshly grated Parmesan to provide that nutty, rich umami flavor.
Parsley: Adds freshness and a pop of color.
If you like this recipe, then try one of these aubergine recipes
- Eggplant Meatballs (vegetarian)
- Bulgur Chickpea Salad with Grilled Halloumi and Eggplant
- Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry
- Roasted Japanese Eggplant with Tahini Sauce
Eggplant Parmesan (One-Pan Skillet Recipe)
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (50 g)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 small eggplants, thinly sliced 1/2 cm thick rounds (800 g)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Pinch of cinnamon (Ceylon)
- 1 x 680 g jar tomato passata with basil
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 60 g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 x 100 g balls fresh mozzarella, sliced or torn into pieces
Lightly salt the eggplant slices and let sit for 10-15 minutes (this will draw out excess moisture). Pat the slices dry with a paper towel and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden-brown (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a bowl.
Increase heat slightly (medium-high) and add 1 1/2 tablespoons more oil to the pan. Arrange as many eggplant slices in the pan as fit without overlapping. Cook, undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip, and cook for another 3 minutes, until soft and lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the eggplant to a plate. Continue with the remaining eggplant, adding more oil as necessary between batches.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF / 220°C.
Reduce the heat to medium to medium-low, add a little more olive oil to the pan. Add the onion and sauté until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook for one minute more, until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 2/3 of the parsley, reserving the remaining as garnish.
Using a ladle, transfer half of the sauce into a small bowl.
Next, layer half of the cooked eggplant slices over the sauce. Top with half of the breadcrumbs, followed by half of the mozzarella, and half of the parmesan. Spread the reserved tomato sauce evenly over the mixture, then repeat topping the mixture with the remaining breadcrumbs, mozzarella and parmesan.
Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until cheese is golden and mixture is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!
- I use my ELAG non-stick oven proof skillet with a removable handle for this recipe. I don’t recommend using a cast iron skillet with a black patina for this recipe, since the acid in the tomato sauce can damage the seasoning. Alternatively use enamel coated cast iron, or a non-stick skillet with a removable or metal handle.
- To make this recipe 100% vegetarian, be sure to choose a vegetarian parmesan alternative.
- Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350°F / 175°C until warm.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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