The mantra for this eggplant and parmesan recipe should be: “Good things take time.” Trust us, your efforts will be rewarded as soon as you pull this custard eggplant in a hot sauce and a crispy, cheesy top out of the oven. It may take some time and steps, but it helps that you can break the work up into pieces, and over a few days if you prefer. The marinara sauce, rich in tomatoes, wine, tons of garlic and Anchovies (the secret of everything) can be done up to two days in advance; The flavors could be even better after a day of mixing. The casserole itself can be put together and cooked two days before dipping. Just keep it in the refrigerator and reheat it. As for the mix of fried eggplant and cheese, panko and herbs? These two components should be made on the day you plan to put it all together. If you make them fresh, the herbs will stay alive and the eggplant’s crispy / pudding-like texture will be preserved.
Some practical advice: if you want to serve these eggplant parmesan as perfect blocks with structural integrity (like in the picture above), let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes after pulling it out of the oven. Trying to cut into this dish while it’s still hot will create a mess. Combine it with a simple, Leaf lettuce and call it dinner.
publisher’s Note: This recipe was originally published on September 20, 2016.