This comes from Bon Appetit and takes some time to make, but it is oh-so-worth it. Take an afternoon in the kitchen and gather everyone around for a dinner that’s as delicious as it is satisfying.
For this you’ll need: x6-7 eggplants (sliced lengthwise into 1/2″ slices), kosher salt, 2-3 cups panko (breadcrumbs), 5-6 eggs, 2-3 cups flour, 1/2 to 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 12 oz shredded mozzarella, 6 oz fresh mozzarella (sliced), fresh oregano (chopped), fresh basil (chopped) [4-6 Tbsp each], 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil and pepper.
You’ll also need to prepare 3-4 cups Roasted Tomato Sauce.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Lightly salt each side of your eggplant slices and place into a single layer on a rimed backing sheet. Place a paper towel over the layer and place another single layer of salted, sliced eggplant on top. Repeat until all slices have been layered together and place one last paper towel over the top. Place a second rimmed backing sheet over the top and then place a few heavy pots on top of the stack. Let stand of 45-60 mins to compress and drain the eggplant slices.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl toss together the panko, 1/2 of the chopped, fresh herbs, ground pepper and 1/2 of the grated parmesan and combine well. In three wide, shallow bowls separately place the panko mixture, the lightly beaten eggs and the flour. In another separate bowl toss together the shredded mozzarella, the remaining shredded parmesan and the remaining chopped herbs. Combine well.
Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Dredge an eggplant slice first through the flour, then into the beaten eggs and lastly completely coat them in the panko mixture. Place, one by one, into the skillet (as many as the skillet can reasonably hold) with the heated oil and cook until golden on each side, about 2-3 mins per side. Remove the browned eggplant slices onto a plate lined with paper towels and, once again, place a second layer of paper towel on top of this.
Repeat the whole process – golden brown then creating a new layer of sliced eggplant and paper towel – until all of the eggplant has been coated, cooked and drained. Add more oil if/when needed to ensure the skillet doesn’t dry out and make sure the heat stays steady without smoking.
Lightly oil a large baking tray with high sides. Place about 1 cup of Tomato Sauce in the bottom, then a single layer of breaded eggplant, then another layer of sauce and, finally, a layer of the shredded mozzarella/herbs mixture. Repeat the same in layers until the pan is full and the eggplant slices are used up.
Cover the tray with foil and bake for 60 minutes at 350. Then remove the foil cover, increase the heat to 425, add the sliced fresh mozzarella slices to the top and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 20-30 mins until golden.
Remove from the oven and let stand for 20 mins before serving.