Aunt Peggy's Eggplant Parmesan

One night in Winter Park, FL, when all were tired of Christmas leftovers, Vanessa and Stephie asked their mom to make her eggplant. They were so excited that I became excited too, even though I don’t think I had ever had eggplant in my life. I was smitten and started making this regularly. I made this in Daytona for Taylor and Courtney one night, and Taylor looked up at me in disbelief, “This is restaurant quality.” He has such a way with backhanded compliments.

This is often the first thing Susan and I make when I visit her. We always reserve a couple of pieces of the fried eggplant to eat as an appetizer, usually topping it with some marinara and ricotta cheese - eggplant rollatini deconstructed! We also figured out on my last trip not to use olive oil for the frying. After a couple of batches, the olive oil gets too hot and burns. Lesson learned. I don’t think Aunt Peggy wrote it down for me. I just watched her do it. Thanks, Aunt Peggy.

1 large eggplant

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup of flour

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated parmesan

6 T vegetable oil

2 cups marinara sauce

1 package sliced mozzarella

1 cup shredded mozzarella

~ Preheat oven to 350º F.

~ Slice eggplant and salt to reduce moisture.

~ In three separate bowls: beat eggs; combine flour, garlic salt, pepper;

combine breadcrumbs and parmesan.

~ Bread eggplant by dipping in flour mixture, then eggs, then breadcrumb mixture.

~ Over medium-high, heat 2 T of oil at a time in a shallow skillet.

~ Fry eggplant till browned, about three minutes each side.

~ Remove eggplant and drain on paper towels. Lightly salt while still hot.

~ Layer marinara sauce, eggplant, and sliced cheese in a casserole dish.

~ Top last layer with shredded mozzarella (browns better this way).

~ Bake for 30 minutes or until browned on top.

~ Serve with angel hair or spaghetti.

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