Eggplant cutlets are one of my favorite staple dishes. With a platter of crispy, yet creamy slices of breaded eggplant layered with sauce and parmesan cheese, I am ready to create several meals. Delicious on their own, I love to simply plate a slice and savor it slowly.
My dad made the best eggplant cutlets! He knew how much we loved them and would have a dish ready when I visited. Even though I followed his recipe exactly, my kids would tell me it’s not quite as good as Grampa’s! My sister too, nieces and nephew could find a plate sitting out warm or at room temperature to top on fresh Italian bread. While they were previously prepared by frying the cutlets, my Dad started the healthier baking version, using much less oil, as eggplants can soak up the oil quickly.
Once I have a platter prepared, I am ready to use the cutlets for an eggplant pizza, or as a Panini filling with ciabatta bread, or for eggplant parmesan by layering the cutlet slices with mozzarella cheese and sauce and baking for about 30 minutes until the cheese is all melted, hot and bubbly.
Baked Eggplant Cutlets
1 – 2 large eggplants sliced into thick rounds, about 1/2 inch thick
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano – or use 1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
Homemade or store-bought tomato sauce
Additional parmesan cheese for sprinkling between layers
Layer the eggplant slices on a plate, sprinkling kosher salt liberally on each layer. Cover with a plate and add weight – as you see in my picture, anything will do! Leave the eggplant for at least an hour. Some say its done to reduce the bitterness of the eggplant, others say it is so that the eggplant will not absorb so much oil. After an hour or so, rinse off the water and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 420 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking sheet, or two if necessary.
Using two breading pans, beat the eggs in one and combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, dried spices or fresh parsley. Dip the cutlets in the egg and then in the bread crumb mixture, pressing down slightly to adhere the crumbs. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle additional oil on top of the cutlets and place in oven.
Bake for 20 minutes. Take out and flip each cutlet over and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes. The cutlets will have a golden crust.
While hot from the oven, prepare a platter by spreading on a light layer of sauce and begin evenly topping with the cutlets. Spread sauce on top of each cutlets and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese. Continue until all cutlets have been placed in the platter. Serve warm or at room temperature or use in other dishes. Store in the refrigerator for a few days.
I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.