Eggplant Parmesan

When the Italian restaurateur of Toronto, John Arena, first cooked this dish for me, I thought it to be one of the simplest yet best appetizers I had ever tasted. The simplicity of fresh vegetables and herbs, topped with grated Parmesan then baked must be tasted to be understood.


  • 2 large eggplants, sliced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
  • 2 cups seasoned flour
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 cups tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut eggplant into 12-14 (1/2-inch) slices. In a large sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Dredge eggplant in seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Sauté 4-5 slices at a time until golden brown on each side. Remove, drain and set aside. Continue to fry eggplant, adding a little olive oil as needed to the skillet. In a separate saute pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and jalapeno. Saute 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and basil and continue to cook until tomatoes render their juices and are cooked to a fresh tomato sauce, approximately 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Season to taste using salt and pepper. When ready to serve, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place eggplant in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spoon an even amount of tomato sauce over each slice. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese and bake until cheese is completely melted.

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