Baked Eggplant Parmesan
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 small eggplants, about 1 1/2 lb. total, cut into 8 slices
2 cups spicy tomato sauce, homemade or jar
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
To reduce the bitterness of eggplant, lightly sprinkle the slices with salt and let drain in a colander set over a plate for 30 minutes. Pat with paper towels to remove the salt "Do not rinse under running water, the eggplant will absorb."
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Place the egg mixture in a wide, shallow dish. Place the bread crumbs in another dish and stir in the oregano, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 Tbs. of oil. Working with 4 eggplant slices at a time, dip a slice in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Coat both sides with the bread crumbs and cook, turning once, until browned, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Lightly oil a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with the remaining oil. Spoon one-third of the sauce over the bottom, then arrange 4 eggplant slices in a single layer in the dish. Spoon one-third of the sauce onto the slices and sprinkle with half of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining eggplant slices and cover with the remaining sauce and mozzarella.
Bake until the eggplant is tender and the cheese is lightly browned and melted, about 15 minutes.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 cans (each 28 oz.) canned diced plum tomatoes, drained
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.