- 2 medium eggplants (1 1/2 pounds total), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- Coarse salt and pepper
- 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 1/2 cups plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (2 ounces), divided
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- In a colander, toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 30 minutes. Arrange slices in a single layer on a dish towel and roll up tightly to extract excess water.
- Meanwhile, in a medium pot, bring tomatoes and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer until thickened, 30 minutes.
- In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Put flour and eggs in two more shallow dishes. Coat eggplant in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, letting excess drip off. Coat with breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high (a few breadcrumbs should sizzle when added). In batches, fry eggplant until golden brown and tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
- Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with half the eggplant, overlapping slices slightly, 2 cups sauce, and half the mozzarella. Repeat with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
- Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.
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