I hate eggplant. HATE! But this is the only eggplant I’ll eat and everyone in my family agrees!
So, I can’t help but be excited to tell you about our vegetarian dinner tonight – eggplant parm melts! They are crunchy from the panko, so you don’t need to fry them (of course, you can if you want to!). And they are creamy from the cheesy mozzarella. These are definitely not low carb, like the food I normally tend to make, but they are a delicious vegetarian option that you’ll love making over and over!
Eggplant Parmesan Melts
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/2 cups jarred tomato sauce (or try making my homemade tomato sauce here)
- 1 Italian bread loaf
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
- Trim eggplant and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Set up three wide, deep bowls on your counter: one with flour, one with the eggs and one with the breadcrumbs. Season the flour very heavily (at least a teaspoon of kosher salt and many grinds of black pepper) and stir to combine. Beat the eggs until combined. Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour, tapping off excess, then the egg, letting excess drip off, and then the breadcrumbs, packing them on.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a metal cooling rack (like the one you would use for cookies) over a large baking sheet and brush or spray it with olive oil. Arrange breaded eggplant slices in one layer on racks, season well with salt and pepper, and bake for 20 minutes on first side and 15 on the second, until edges are crisp and eggplant inside is soft. Set aside.
- When the eggplant is nearly done baking, heat the tomato sauce in a small pot over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Once it starts to simmer, turn off heat and set-aside.
- To assemble the melts, heat the broiler. Split bread in half and briefly run under broiler, just to lightly toast it so that the sauce doesn’t make it soggy. Split each bread half into 6 smaller toasts and arrange on 1 to 2 large baking sheets that have been lined with foil. Spread a little prepared sauce over each toast and sprinkle with some of the parmesan. Add a few eggplant slices to each, fanning them out. Top with more sauce (to taste, but not so much that eggplant is drenched), parmesan and then place a slice or so of mozzarella over the top of each (enough that when it melts, it should drape down easily). Run tray(s) of melts under the broiler until cheese on top is melted and blistery, about 3-5 minutes – keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Garnish and enjoy!