Dipping eggplant slices in an assembly line of seasoned flour, beaten eggs and fresh breadcrumbs is an ideal activity the whole family can enjoy. You can make the tomato sauce ahead of time and use leftovers on pasta or as veggie dip. This recipe comes to us from Stacey and Simran of A Little Yumminess.
To make the tomato sauce:
Adult: Place the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes, or until golden.
Kid: Add the tomato sauce to the pot, stir and add the tomatoes one at a time, breaking them apart with your hands as you add them to the pot.
Together: Sprinkle the tomato sauce mixture with the dried basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting any spices if desired. Let the tomato sauce mixture come to a steady simmer, then turn heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced.
To Complete the Eggplant Parmesan:
Adult: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with a light layer of vegetable oil. Transfer the oiled baking sheet to the oven to warm it up.
Adult: Slice the eggplant into 1/2” thick rounds. Sprinkle heavily with salt, transfer to a colander and let sit for at least 20 minutes, or until the bitter juices have drained out. Rinse and pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel. Combine the flour, dried basil, dried oregano, salt and pepper together in a pie tin.
Kid: Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them together using a fork. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate medium bowl.
Together: Set up an assembly line on the counter starting with the spiced flour, then the beaten eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Place a cookie cooling rack above a new baking sheet to finish the assembly line. Dip both sides of each eggplant in the flour, egg, breadcrumbs, shaking the eggplant after every dip and transfer to the cooling rack until you’re ready to bake.
Adult: Place the breaded eggplant slices on the hot baking sheet in the oven. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Turn the oven down to 375 and bake for about 15 minutes. Flip using a spatula and bake another 15 minutes more.
Together: Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of an 8” by 8” baking dish. Layer half the baked eggplant slices over the sauce then add another 1/2 cup sauce to top the eggplant rounds and top with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Repeat with the remaining half eggplant rounds, another 1/2 cup sauce and the remaining parmesan.
Adult: Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Top with the diced mozzarella and fresh basil to taste. Enjoy!