Melanzane alla Parmigiana alla Lidia (pressoché)
IngredientsSalt eggplants all over with 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Layer in a large colander set in the sink. Lay a plate over the eggplant and weight the top with cans to help press out excess liquid. Let drain about ½ hour, then rinse and pat dry.
2½ pounds medium-size, firm eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 cups dry bread crumbs
4 cups grated parmigiano
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large eggs
½ cup milk
1½ cups all-purpose flour, for dredging
5 cups marinara sauce (in a pinch I use Rinaldi's)
1 pound low-moisture mozzarella, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large shallow bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs, 2 cups of the grated cheese and 3/4 cup of the olive oil. Season with ½ teaspoon salt. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs and milk with a pinch of salt. Spread the flour on a plate.
Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, egg, then breadcrumbs, pressing in the crumbs to make sure they adhere. Lay the eggplant slices on parchment lined sheet pans (or use that no-stick foil for easy cleanup), without touching. Bake eggplant, rotating the sheet pans halfway through baking, until cooked through and crumbs are crisp and golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool slightly.
To assemble the eggplant, spread ¾ cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 10-by-15-inch baking dish. Add half of the baked eggplant, in an even layer. Spread with 1 cup marinara. Sprinkle with ½ cup grated parmigiano. Sprinkle with half the shredded mozzarella. Spread with 2 more cups marinara. Sprinkle with the remaining grated mozzarella and ½ cup grated parmigiano. Top with an even layer of the remaining eggplant. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining grated parmigiano. Tent the baking dish with foil, so it is not touching the cheese and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is browned and crusty and sauce is bubbling all over, another 15 minutes. Let cool and set 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving.