Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Grandmother Maffeo's Eggplant Parmesan

Neighbor W. gave us a some small, tender eggplant this week which made it the perfect time to ask my mom to walk me through the steps of her Eggplant Parmesan. This was the Eggplant Parmesan I grew up with, the one my grandmother made, and the one I will forever crave. Every Italian family has their own sauce, their own meatballs, and probably their own Eggplant Parmesan. My mother's family's meatballs were different than my father's family's meatballs, and so it goes. I did not have time to prepare spaghetti sauce for this dish, so I committed sacrilege and used jarred sauce. I choose the Classico brand if I'm using jarred sauce. This recipe varies from most Eggplant Parmesan recipes because it does not use breadcrumbs. Instead, the eggplant slices are coated in batter. This is what makes it stand out from all the others and my favorite : )

Begin by choosing smallish eggplant, if possible. I find they have better flavor and are less bitter. Mom had me peel them and slice them into about 1/4" thick slices.

Prepare the batter by beating 3-4 eggs for every 2 large or 3 small eggplant. Sift in enough flour to thicken batter to a nice coating consistency. Add about 1 tablespoon dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until blended. Dip eggplant slices into batter and fry a few at a time in extra virgin olive oil, on medium heat, turning once until golden on both sides.

Place a single layer of fried slices in the bottom of a 9x12 baking pan. There is no need to grease the pan or put sauce in the bottom; the oil from the fried slices is enough to keep them from sticking. Spoon a heaping tablespoonful of sauce on top of each slice. (One jar of sauce is enough for this recipe.) Sprinkle each slice with mozarella (One 8-oz. bag) and parmesan. Repeat layers. (My three small eggplant made three layers, which is perfect. Two layers seems a little skimpy)

Cover the baking pan tightly with foil and bake at 350 F. for about 40 minutes.

Absolutely delicious! A big pan is never enough because leftovers are a must. Try a leftover eggplant sandwich on slices of Italian bread with a little provolone melted on top.


  1. I have kind of a fussy eggplant parm recipe that came from Cooking Light. I am going to try yours - I'll add it to my pepperplate! Looks divine. And I love that your mom got to walk you through it. I'll put those notes on the pepperplate recipe.