Just so we're clear, you cannot say the words "My Tiny Grandma (was 4'10") made the best Eggplant Parmesan" to me unless you plan on sharing the recipe. It's a rule at this point.
Thank goodness. These things are rules because sometimes the statements are true and OMG.
I love eggplant always, but yes this is some really fantastic eggplant pamesan.We have put it on a hoagie roll for Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches and we've also paired it with spaghetti. It was some happy stuff both times.
So thanks for sharing the recipe, Mary. I already taught Alexis how to make it, so it will be passed on for at least one more generation. The best part is that she learned to make it without any quantities of the ingredients, which is exactly how family recipes should be passed down.
(If you have a recipe that came to the United States with an immigrant and you are okay with me trying it and posting it here, please email! The address is burghbaby (at) gmail (dot) com.)
Grandmas's Eggplant Parmesan
1. Cut eggplant into even slices. (As narrated by my Dad who told me Grandpa likes his slices thicker and Grandma likes hers a little thinner so there was always a bit of an issue with how thick the slices should be.)
2. Blanch eggplant - How to blanch eggplant (stole from internet): Cook (blanch) the eggplant for 4 minutes. Begin counting the blanching time as soon as you place the eggplant in the boiling water. Cover the kettle and boil at a high temperature for the required amount of time. You may use the same blanching water multiple times (up to 5 times).
My Dad always dried the eggplant on paper towels once they came out of the water.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Bread eggplant - My Dad's method was to dip it in egg (can be eliminated if you don't do dairy) then in the panko that has a liberal amount of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings mixed in. (Again, there was always a loud discussion about how the eggplant should be breaded. When I laughed my Dad did point out we are Italian after all and that these "discussions" happened on a regular basis.)
5. Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
6. Layer breaded eggplant in the sauce. Can make two layers - add cheese, spoon in more sauce and then add more eggplant on top, but one layer is best.
7. Sprinkle lots of cheese on top (mozzarella and parmesan are preferred in my house).
8. Optional - sprinkle basil on top.
9. Pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. (Funny side note: My Tiny Grandma could smell when it was done.)