Eggplant Parmesan Jazz {Recipe}

My dad loves eggplant parmesan. If we go to Olive Garden, it is guaranteed that’s what he’ll order. One day when I was asking for dinner suggestions on Facebook, my friend Will suggested Eggplant Parmesan. So I decided to give it a whirl. (Sidenote: Will typically likes to add the word “jazz” to the end of many phrases, so this has become fondly known as “Eggplant Parmesan Jazz” in my collection of recipes.)

The last time I made this, I got the ultimate compliment from my dad: “It’s better than Olive Garden.” Ah, sweet success! Pair with a fresh tossed salad and some garlic bread for a quick, cheap, delicious meal!

Eggplant Parmesan Jazz adapted from StartCooking.com

1 eggplant (8 oz.)
1 tsp. salt
2 C. dry bread crumbs, Italian flavor
1 ½ C. flour
1 egg, beaten + 1 tsp. water
1 (26 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese
6 T. oil

Slice the eggplant into slightly larger than ¼” slices. Sweat the eggplant by sprinkling with salt. Set in colander for 30-40 minutes. This draws out any bitterness that is typically found in eggplant. Press a paper towel into each slice to absorb all the liquid drawn from the eggplant.

Put the flour and eggplant in a ziploc bag or tupperware container. Shake to dredge.

Put the egg/water mixture in a flat, rimmed dish. Put the bread crumbs in a second flat, rimmed dish. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg and then dredge in breadcrumbs, pressing them into each slice.

Preheat frying pan or electric skillet on medium high heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and let it get hot. Fry the eggplant until golden brown on each side. Flip them only once. Place on a plate that has been lined with a paper towel.

Preheat oven to 425o.

Before frying the second batch, clean the skillet out with a paper towel and a pair of tongs. Add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil to the pan and fry remaining eggplant.

Spread half the sauce in a baking dish large enough to hold the eggplant in a single layer. A little bit of overlapping is fine. Sprinkle on the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake in a preheated 425o oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden and the sauce is bubbly.

Serve over angel hair pasta with additional sauce, if desired. Serves 4.

*Note: If we don’t have time to make our own sauce, our favorite jarred sauce to use is LaRosa’s. We’re pretty much obsessed with that restaurant. We go out of our way to eat at one. It’s a little out of control really. My mom will even sit through 20 indoor percussion groups and 20 colorguard groups to eat there, but I guess that’s not so bad when those groups look like this…

LCA Winterguard 2011. Part of their aesthetically-pleasing color palette is reminiscent of eggplant, no?

Thanks for the suggestion, Will! Eggplant Parmesan will always be jazzy in my book thanks to you.

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