I love eggplant. When you top it with breadcrumbs and smother it in sauce and cheese, well, it might just be one of my favorite things. My issue with eggplant parmesan is the amount of oil you need to use when pan-frying it. I’m a little gun-shy about adding a ton of oil to the pan however, I constantly end up having to do so as the breadcrumbs and eggplant absorb the oil very quickly.
This time, I decided to grill the eggplant and sprinkle the panko on top to eliminate this issue and create a slightly healthier version. Creating an infused oil and toasting the panko in it adds a ton of flavor and delicious texture to the dish as well. A little marinara and fresh mozzarella take it right over the edge. Enjoy!
- ¼ cup olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomato
- 1 cup gluten-free panko (I used Aleia's)
- ⅓ cup chopped basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 - 1lb eggplants cut lengthwise into 1" pieces (Should yield 7-8 pieces. I used Zebra but you can use any variety.)
- 1 cup marinara sauce (I used Rao's)
- ½ lb fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
- Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high
- In a medium skillet, heat ¼ cup oil, garlic and sun-dried tomato over medium-low heat, about 8-10 minutes, until oil is infused with flavor. Lower heat, if needed to avoid browning the garlic.
- In the meantime, drizzle olive oil over the eggplant and season both sides with salt and pepper. Grill about 3-4 minutes on each side until nice char marks appear and surface is beginning to soften. Arrange grilled eggplant on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Add panko and basil to pan with olive oil, garlic and sun-dried tomato and raise heat to medium. Toss for about 3-5 minutes until panko is toasted and golden-brown. Season well with with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat broiler.
- Spoon marinara sauce over each piece of eggplant, sprinkle generously with toasted, seasoned panko. Top with mozzarella slices and additional panko.
- Broil eggplant for 3-4 minutes until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven, cool for a couple of minutes and serve.
The local farmers market had lots of eggplants, so I grabbed a couple Japanese and a Black Beauty and tried this recipe. Wow! This was delicious!