Eggplant Parmesan

The Quest for Perfection: Secrets to the Ultimate Eggplant Parmesan

Ah, eggplant parmesan – that iconic Italian dish that has captured hearts (and stomachs) for generations. Crispy, golden-fried eggplant slices bathed in rich tomato sauce, nestled under a blanket of melty cheese, and sprinkled with fragrant parmesan… it’s a symphony of textures and flavors that never fails to satisfy. But achieving eggplant parmesan perfection can feel like scaling a culinary mountain. Fear not, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, I’m sharing my secret weapon: a recipe inspired by the legendary Mama D’s Italian pink sauce, alongside all the tips and tricks to make restaurant-worthy eggplant parmesan right in your own kitchen.

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Now, before we embark on this delicious journey, let’s address the doubts that often linger around this dish. Is the eggplant going to be soggy? Will the breading fall off? How do I achieve that perfectly golden, crispy crust? Rest assured, with a little guidance and the right techniques, you’ll be serving up eggplant parmesan that’s crispy, flavorful, and guaranteed to impress.

Salting eggplant

Salting the Eggplant

The key to making this dish sing is by first salting your eggplant. This draws out a lot of the moisture from the vegetable so you don’t have a soggy casserole.

To begin, rinse off two medium-sized eggplants. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and place on a cookie sheet rack. Sprinkle each side with salt. This is going to add a little flavor, pull out the moisture, give it a better texture, and remove some of the bitterness. Once the eggplant’s moisture has released, dab with a paper towel to remove the excess liquid. 

The Secret Weapon: Italian Pink Sauce

Many eggplant parmesan recipes rely on marinara sauce, but for me, the true secret lies in my Italian pink sauce. This vibrant sauce, made with a touch of cream and spices, adds an irresistible layer of richness and depth that takes your eggplant parmesan to the next level.

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The Essential Ingredients: Your Culinary Arsenal

To create your own eggplant parmesan masterpiece, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups eggplant, sliced and salted: Choose firm, fresh eggplant for optimal texture.
  • 3 cups Italian pink sauce or marinara sauce: You can get my recipe here.
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced: Fresh is best for melty goodness.
  • 1 tablespoon oregano: Adds a touch of herbaceous warmth.
  • 1 cup parmigiano-reggiano, shredded: For that classic cheesy punch.
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour: The base for our crispy coating.
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs: Adds extra crunch and texture.
  • Oil for frying: Choose a neutral oil with a high smoke point.
  • Egg wash: 2 eggs whisked with 1/4 cup milk, binds the breading.

Feel free to adjust the amount of parmesan cheese and oregano to your taste. Craving a bit of heat? Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the breading mixture.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Recipe by Jason Hill –
Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes, and I order it almost every time we go out to an Italian restaurant. The key to making this dish is by first salting your eggplant, which draws out a lot of the moisture from the vegetable so you don't have a soggy casserole.
I like to serve this with an Italian pink sauce, but you can definitely use your favorite marinara sauce instead.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 2 cups eggplant sliced and salted
  • 3 cups Italian pink sauce or marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese sliced
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 cup parmigiano-reggiano shredded
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • Oil for frying

Egg Wash

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • Cut eggplant into slices and place on a wire rack. Salt the eggplant and wait for the moisture to draw out of the eggplant. Pad with a paper towel and remove the rest of the water.
  • Whisk the egg wash ingredients and place in a shallow casserole dish.
  • Add parmesan and oregano to the bread crumbs and mix well.
  • Take a piece of eggplant, coat well on both sides with the flour. Drop into the egg wash and coat. Drop eggplant and coat into the bread crumbs.
  • Preheat pan to medium high with oil to cover. When oil is nice and hot, drop the eggplant slices into the pan and brown each side, about 1 minute each side.
  • After your second batch, you may need to add more oil to the frying pan.
  • Grab a 9×13 casserole dish. Pour in 1/3 of the pink sauce. Layer the bottom with fried eggplant slices. Next, layer on the mozzarella cheese over each eggplant slice. Top with more sauce and repeat.
  • Place in 375 F oven, uncovered, for 35 minutes.
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Keyword eggplant, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, vegetarian
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

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