No-Fry Baked Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Salad
You need to taste this delicious, lighter version of eggplant Parmesan updated for healthier family dinners. This one-pan vegetarian dish is baked, not fried, and topped with fresh mozzarella and a tomato-basil salad.
small eggplant such as Graffiti variety
1 ¼ pounds
crumbled dried oregano
fine sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
prepared fresh tomato sauce or marinara
sliced into half-moons
fresh parmesan cheese
in mixed colors if available
Handful fresh basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees. Have a large rimmed rectangular sheet pan and a large baking dish ready.
Peel the eggplant, or partially peel, leaving stripes of skin here and there. Slice into ¼ inch-thick circles.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl with the oregano, salt and pepper. Put the panko crumbs in another large bowl or shallow pan.
In 2 or 3 batches, dip the eggplant slices in the egg white mixture so that they're evenly coated, then add to the bowl with the crumbs, tossing around to make sure the crumbs adhere.
Put the empty sheet pan in the oven for 7 minutes (it will start smoking). Remove from the oven (with oven mitts) and pour enough oil in the pan to a depth of 1/4-inch, about 1/2 cup of oil.
Immediately arrange the eggplant on the hot pan. Bake for 7 minutes, then turn the pieces over and bake another 5 minutes or until they're nicely golden on the other side.
Reduce oven temperature to 375 (190 C) degrees. Put the tomato sauce in a large baking dish, then add the eggplant to the dish. Distribute both cheeses over the eggplant and bake 15 minutes.
Quarter the cherry tomatoes and toss with 1 tablespoon extra olive oil, the vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tear the basil leaves into strips and gently toss with the tomatoes.
Serve the eggplant with some of the tomatoes spooned over the top.