This really fun way of preparing eggplant parmesan. The key is to stack the eggplant into the pan very tightly. That way, when you turn it out, you get a spiraled dish where each slice comes off like petals. Another great thing about building the dish like this is that every ounce of sauce gets absorbed and the result is quite a firm parm that comes across almost like a savoury cake.
Related: Easy Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
Excerpted from by Cory Vitiello and Chris Johns. Copyright © 2023 Cory Vitiello and Chris Johns. Photographs by Paula Wilson. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat the bottom of a large baking sheet with olive oil.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Generously salt both sides and place on paper towel to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. This process helps to extract the excess liquid, impurities, and bitterness from the eggplants. Once the eggplants have released their liquid, rinse the slices under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
In three large dishes, arrange the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs — this is your breading station. Coat each slice of eggplant first with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Once each slice is breaded, lay on the oiled baking sheet.
When all the pieces of eggplant are breaded, drizzle them with more olive oil and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, in a 10-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat, lightly toast the fennel seeds. Add half of the torn basil. Cover the fennel and basil with 2 cups sauce, followed by one-third each of the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Arrange the eggplant in a coil above the sauce and cheese, keeping it as tightly packed as possible. Cover with the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce, followed by the remaining mozzarella, basil, and parm. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Remove the eggplant parm from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice and serve with more tomato sauce and grated Parmigiano- Reggiano.
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