In the past, I've often turned to eggplant parmesan as a dish to order at my favorite Italian restaurant. It's one of those bit involved dishes that tends to make way too much for my small family. And while there aren't a lot of ways to trim the prep time on this one, there is a pretty simple way to make less of it so you aren't overeating or living on leftovers forever: use a cast iron skillet.
Cast iron is a super star when it comes to baked and roasted dishes. So for this dish, I used one medium eggplant and made enough for my family and an extra serving for lunch the next day. Beyond that, most of the prep work involved waiting for eggplant to sweat, bake, and then for the assembled dish to finish baking. The most involved step is breading the eggplant rounds and using mayo takes a lot of the fuss out of the process. With a streamlined, smaller dish, I can make this once a month without feeling like I need to be watching it all for half the day or spending the next week eating the leftovers.
I like serving this with toasted garlic bread and a vegetable side. The steamed broccoli pictured above was downright lovely and I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend grabbing your cast iron skillet and making this heavenly eggplant parmesan part of your life. Enjoy!
- 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into ½-inch thick rounds
- 1 c. panko breadcrumbs
- ½ T. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 2 T. mayonnaise
- 3 c. marinara sauce
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ c. finely-grated parmesan cheese
Line a large sheet pan with paper towels and place the eggplant rounds on the sheet in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly and generously with salt, then let the eggplant rounds rest for 30-60 minutes so that any bitter liquids inside can sweat out. Transfer the eggplant rounds to a colander and rinse with cold water to remove the salt, then pat the eggplant dry with a clean paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a shallow bowl, stir together the panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, fine sea salt, and black pepper until combined. Brush the eggplant rounds with the mayonnaise so that they are evenly coated on all sides, then transfer the rounds to the breadcrumb mixture and coat on all sides. Place them on a baking sheet. Repeat until all of the eggplant rounds are coated and evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until the eggplant is softened and mostly cooked through. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and set aside.
In a 10-12" cast iron skillet sprayed with cooking spray, spread 1 cup marinara sauce evenly across the bottom of the skillet. Layer the eggplant rounds over the sauce in the skillet. You will need to tilt them slightly and arrange them in a swirl pattern to cover the bottom of the skillet as evenly as possible. Once the eggplant is arranged, carefully pour the remaining sauce evenly over the eggplant rounds and sprinkle the mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake the skillet for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges and the eggplant is cooked to your liking. Serve warm.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: About 2 hours