In life and in cooking, there is a saying: you win some you lose some. After I made this easy baked eggplant Parmesan I realized that there was actually no Parmesan to speak of in the recipe. In fact, the dish is often misconstrued to be from Parma, a city in Northern Italy, when it’s really a dish with Southern Italy roots.
I’ve never been to Italy, but I imagine that the origins of a lot of food we often consider Italian is not authentic. I suspect that pizza in Italy looks nothing like my Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza or my perfect Friday Night Spinach & Ricotta Pizza.
That’s one reason that I didn’t feel bad making a non-traditional eggplant parmigiana. Baked, not fried, these eggplant slices aren’t coated in breadcrumbs but rather sprinked with them prior to baking. You can enjoy a crispy texture for fewer calories without sacrificing taste. I’m sure no one in Parma (or elsewhere) will ever know the difference.
- 1 (1-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼-inch slices
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups tomato sauce
- ¾ cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella cheese
- (Optional): Set the eggplant in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with the salt, cover with more paper towels. Let stand 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 baking sheets and an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Spread one-fourth of the tomato sauce in the baking dish. Top with some of the eggplant slices in a single layer, slightly overlapping if necessary. Sprinkle with one-third of the bread crumbs, one-fourth of the cheese and another one-fourth of the sauce. Repeat the layers, finishing with the cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake until heated through and bubbling, 30-40 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake until the top is slightly crisp, about 15 minutes longer. Serve hot or warm.