Crisp and zesty eggplant parmigiana

Crispy, ‘Fry-Baked’ Eggplant

Recipe by Mary Lee Harrington

I select firm, but ripe large eggplant to make this dish. The secret is not so much in the sauce, but in frying the eggplant first in a flour and egg mixture and then baking it. I only use Parmesan cheese, no other type of cheese. You want to enjoy the taste of the eggplant. Buon appetito!

3-large eggplant


1 ½ cups flour

2- jars of Bertolli Vineyard Marinara sauce or

Tomato and Basil


Dried oregano and basil

Parmesan Reggiano cheese

Corn oil for frying

The finished dish: Crispy, golden eggplant with Primitivo wine.
  1. Wash and peel eggplant and cut off ends. I like to stripe mine and leave some peel on, but not necessary to do that.
  2. Slice eggplant about ½ inch thick and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. You should have about 18 large pieces and 9 small pieces. Lightly salt the eggplant to bring out excess moisture and let stand for 15 minutes. Blot with paper towels.
  3. In a dish or bowl, beat eggs with a small amount of water and put the flour on a large plate.
  4. Heat 1 ¼ cups of oil in a skillet until it reaches frying temperature. You might have to change the oil once if it gets too dark to continue.
  5. Very important: Dip the eggplant in the flour first, then in the egg mixture and put several pieces into the hot oil. Sprinkle with both oregano and basil. Cook about 5 minutes and then turn and cook another 5 minutes. Do not let it burn.
  6. Drain on paper towels and continue to cook the remainder in small batches.
  7. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 10×15 glass baking dish with Pam and cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Lay 6 large eggplant and 3 small pieces on first layer, cover with more sauce and parmesan cheese. Continue with 9 more eggplant, sauce and cheese for two more layers.
  8. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour. Cooking time will vary especially if the dish comes from the refrigerator.

Wine pairing: Sangiovese-based Chianti Classico is a No. 1 pick, but we tried it with a fruity and dry Torcicoda Primitivo Salento from Puglia and it was excellent. The savory, crispy eggplant and fruity Primitivo went hand and glove with crusty ciabatta bread and garden salad..