After much experimentation, I think I’ve created the world’s simplest, least-fussy recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. (Eggplant = Aubergine, my non-USA friends.) I have found that you don’t need to bother with the salting-waiting-pressing step, nor the breading and frying, nor any pre-cooking at all. You don’t even have to grate the cheese if you don’t want to.
To feed 3-4 very hungry people, buy:
Two medium eggplants
One brick of mozzarella cheese (Full-fat, please, let’s not skimp. I think they typically weigh one pound)
One jar of your favorite tomato sauce
A lump of parmesan cheese, or some of the pre-grated stuff if that’s how you fly. I won’t touch the pre-grated stuff, but that means I have to do a bit of grating. Up to you.
Pre-heat oven to 350F
Ok. Slice up those eggplants, peel and all, into rather thin slices, maybe 3/8 of an inch thick. Less than half an inch, anyway. Let’s call it a centimeter. That’s less than half an inch, right?
Slice up the mozzarella similarly. Grate up some parmesan cheese if you’re snobby like me.
Dump a little bit of sauce into a fine large casserole dish with a lid. Layer about a third of the eggplant slices on top of the sauce, overlapping as necessary. Layer about a third of the cheese slices (this will not even remotely cover the eggplant. That’s fine. It will spread out as it cooks), then about a third of the remaining tomato sauce. Repeat eggplant/cheese/sauce layers, then sprinkle a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese on the very top.
Cover and bake for a LONG LONG TIME. I think I ended up baking mine for about 2 hours. Test after about 1.5 hours and see if the eggplant in the center is tender yet. Pull some out and taste it. Raw eggplant is revolting. Bake a while longer if you’re not sure. Take the lid off for the last half-hour or so. Let it cool just a few minutes before serving.
This is so freaking tasty, and easy too! And it doesn’t make a big greasy mess in the kitchen. And it smells so good while it’s baking. Yum!
Oh, you can throw in some slices of fresh tomato between the layers, if it happens to be summer and you happen to have a lovely ripe flavorful tomato handy.