There are many different ways to make Eggplant Parmigiana. Some are a lot healthier than others. This one is more traditional with the eggplant dipped in bread crumbs and fried and then layered with tomato sauce and cheese and baked in the oven. Another way to make it is to dip the eggplant into parmesan cheese and bake it until done and then layer.
I created this recipe using my special tomato sauce with ground turkey and special blend of several cheeses; mozzarella, parmesan and gruyere. There is less cheese since it is not layered in a casserole but the eggplant is layered into individual eggplant towers.
Four tricks to make the Parmigiana the best you have ever eaten.
1. Make sure you have fresh basil leaves between each layer.
2. Use panko bread crumbs for dipping the eggplant in so it will be crispier”
3. Have all your sauce hot. When Eggplant comes out of the fryer, layer quickly and bake in the oven for only 20 minutes until the cheese it melted.
4. Only use a little sauce between the layers. You can always add more at the table.
Eggplant Parmigiana Towers
2 large eggplants sliced in 1/2 inch circles making 18 circles
2-3 cups flour or panko bread crumbs
4 cups vegetable oil or enough for 1 inch of oil in the skillet
9 mozzarella slices cut in half
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 cup Gruyere or Provolone Cheese grated
12 fresh basil leaves
3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce (sauce recipe at the bottom of this recipe)
Salt the eggplant to remove some of the moisture and make it less bitter and salt also adds crispness. Peel the eggplant and slice into circles about 1/2 inch thick. Do not slice too thin, as it will reduce in size during cooking. Layer the eggplant slices around the edge of a colander/strainer; sprinkle each slice of eggplant with a pinch of sea salt. Allow the salted eggplant to sit for thirty minutes, to assist in draining out excess water and removing the bitter taste from the eggplant. After thirty minutes blot out excess moisture with a paper towel.
Dip each eggplant circle in flour or panko on both sides. Put 1 inch of oil in the skillet. Heat your oil until hot around 350-375 degrees. Fry your eggplant in batches in the oil until golden brown. Set aside to drain on paper towels.
Layering. Place 1 tablespoon sauce on the pan for each eggplant tower. If you are making 6 eggplant towers than you will need 6 tablespoons of sauce placed in casserole pan. Place one eggplant circle on each tablespoon of sauce.
Layer: 1 tablespoon sauce, 1 circle eggplant, sprinkle parmesan on each eggplant circle and 1 slice mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of the provolone or gruyere. Then add the basil leaf. Repeat until you have 3 layers and on the top of the 3rd layer put 1 tablespoon of sauce and top with grated parmesan and provolone or gruyere.
Place a toothpick or skewer in each tower so that they do not slide while baking. Bake the eggplant parmigiana towers for 20 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil on top. Wait about 15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Turkey Basil Tomato Sauce: Make ahead up to 3 days before.
Ingredients for sauce:
1 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
2 T olive oil
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 28 oz. can chopped or crushed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
8 oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 t. red ground pepper
1/2 cup red wine
Directions for sauce:
Heat olive oil in large pan. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add ground turkey and saute until lightly browned. Add salt and pepper. Add all other ingredients and simmer for 1 hour over low heat. Cool and store in refrigerator until ready to make Eggplant Parmigiana.