Eggplant Parmigiana is hands down one of my all-time favorite tray bakes. Not only is it incredibly delicious, but it’s also unbelievably easy to make with just a handful of ingredients! Picture this: layers of perfectly grilled eggplant smothered in a rich herbed tomato sauce, topped with a heavenly combination of crunchy breadcrumbs and gooey mozzarella. Trust me, it’s a taste sensation!
Originating from the beautiful city of Parma in Italy, this dish is known as ‘melanzane alla parmigiana,’ which literally translates to ‘eggplant the Parma way.’ It’s like a vegetarian twist on lasagne, but instead of pasta sheets, you layer finely sliced grilled eggplant. The result? A mouthwatering symphony of flavors that will leave you wanting more.
Now, here’s a little secret to achieving the perfect eggplant parmigiana: sprinkle the raw eggplant slices generously with salt and let them sit for at least half an hour. This step is crucial as it draws out excess moisture from the eggplant, ensuring that your dish isn’t watery or soggy when cooked. What you’re left with are beautifully firm and tender slices that hold together perfectly and pack a punch of flavor.
And here’s a pro tip: if you happen to have any leftovers (though I highly doubt it because it’s just that good), store them in the fridge overnight. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat it thoroughly, and it’ll taste just as amazing as the first time.
I hope you give this incredible eggplant parmigiana a try, my fellow food enthusiasts! And if you do, please don’t hesitate to let me know how it turns out for you. Happy cooking!
- 2 large eggplants, sliced in rounds about 1/2 cm thick
- ¼ cup (60mL) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 ½ cup (180g) mozzarella, grated
- 1 cup (60g) breadcrumbs
- To begin, lay out a couple of tea towels on your bench. Place the rounds of eggplant on top and sprinkle very generously with salt. Let them sit for 30-60 minutes. After this time you will see that droplets of water have been drawn out of the eggplant. Firmly dab each eggplant with a paper towel to soak up the water. You will also collect a lot of salt.
- While you are waiting for your eggplant, you can make your sauce.
- Heat up the olive oil on medium in a pan and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Then add in the tomato paste, tomatoes, oregano, salt, and pepper and reduce the heat to low. Cook this until you’re ready to assemble the tray bake.
- While the sauce is cooking on low, heat your oven to 355F (180C) and lay the eggplant out in a single layer onto baking paper-lined trays. Bake for 15 minutes until softened.
- Then in a rectangle baking dish, layer the eggplant and sauce in alternating layers until you’ve used it all then top with mozzarella and breadcrumbs. Gently push down on top of the breadcrumbs to flatten it out then bake for 40 minutes until golden. You can bake it slightly longer if you love an extra crispy top. Rest for 5 minutes then slice and serve.