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Oct 26, 2006 05:21 PM

First crack at eggplant parm

I've done the research on here about eggplant parm, however, I had a couple of questions. I know the basics and how to assemble it but...My first one is about the cheese. Can I use fresh mozzarela or should I use a dried mozz like scamorza, will the fresh stuff make the dish too watery? Second question is the breading of the eggplant. I'm used to mom's parm and I saw some people say grill the eggplant which sounded interesting, also others were strictly on a flour train and others the traditional flour/egg/breadcrumbs. Lastly, baking how high how long? Thank you

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  1. i would not use fresh mozzarella, because it might get too watery and ruin the crispy breading on the eggplant. Grilling the eggplant might be ok, but then you are missing the best part, the crunchy breading.

    1. Make sure you salt the eggplant. Key step.

      1. I always use the not-fresh variety of Mozarella because, as pointed out, the fresh can make the whole thing watery.
        Also - re breading...I think I've tried every version, and the very best method is salting slices, letting them drain for a good hour, then dry, dredge in flour, THEN egg, then fry.
        Yes, flour first, then egg. It sounds backwards, but it creates a nice, think batter.

        Bake at 350 for 25 to 45 minutes is the way we go, until the sauce and cheese are bubbly. Do let it rest before cutting

        1 Reply
        1. re: JPomer

          You have my vote :) This is what we always did. Egg, then flour, then fry. Also, I find the best to be thinly sliced eggplant. While the breading (other methods) may add cruch, it also adds a ton of grease, and isn't as authentic IMHO.

        2. Classic eggplant parmesan, in my experience, has always been made with slices breaded with egg, flour and crumbs and fried before layering. I, personally, prefer to brush salted and drained eggplant slices lightly with olive oil and broil before assembling. The bread crumbs do tend to absorb some of the liquid so makes for a more solid presentation (will cut into pieces better without collapsing) and you can add seasonings to the crumbs too - which is something to consider.

          Cheesewise, I think I'd go with regular mozzarella, not the fresh, water packed kind. The flavours in the dish are so strong they'll overpower a delicate cheese.

          1. Cooks Illustrated's recipe is the best I've found--my only change would be to spray the breaded slices with olive oil, then bake them on a pizza screen. It doesn't require layering--more like "leaning"--so the bottom doesn't get soggy.

            I use ricotta, part-skim mozzarella, and parmesan.