Cameron’s ‘Kind of Extra’ Eggplant Parmigiana

April 27, 2020


This recipe was submitted by Cameron Kroetsch, member of the Governance Committee at The AIDS Network, as a part of our A Taste at Home campaign.


This is an adaptation of my grandmother’s family-famous eggplant parmigiana recipe. This is, at best, a half day kind of thing in my experience, hence it being “kind of extra”. You really have to want to make this (but it tastes good!). Making your own sauce makes all the difference (using a food mill to strain your tomatoes during that process is definitely both a level up and worth it). COVID-19 hack: make 2 and leave 1 on a friend’s doorstep? This dish travels well with a simple tinfoil cover and the relatively quick baking-before-eating time is a bonus.


What you’ll need (tastes and sizes of things vary so I’ve tried not to be too prescriptive)

  • 1 large casserole dish (preferably rectangular and glass) for baking the finished dish
  • 1 cheese grater for the mozzarella
  • 1 rasp for the parmigiano reggiano (a grater will also work but you’ll want to use the smallest holes if that’s an option)
  • 1-2 cookie sheets for salting the eggplant (or you can use your counter or table)
  • 1 flattish bowl for the egg/milk
  • 1 flattish bowl for breadcrumbs
  • 2-3 medium-large eggplants
  • 1 small block of parmigiano reggiano cheese (other hard cheeses, like romano, are also good)
  • 2-3 small mozzarellas (look for those in the shape of a large egg)
  • 1 container of breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 litres of tomato sauce
  • 6-10 eggs
  • Some milk (dairy or otherwise)
  • A fair bit of olive oil


  • Grate the mozzarella with the cheese grater and put it in a bowl in the fridge (do your best not to let it clump up)
  • Grate the parmigiano reggiano with a rasp and put it in a bowl in the fridge (do your best not to let it clump up); my granddad used to grate it at the dining room table onto a newspaper sheet to keep the moisture down (the newspaper did this according to him, no idea if it’s true)
  • Heat up your tomato sauce so it’s warm and ready when you need to do the baking part (a quick tomato sauce recipe is 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 small can of tomato paste, 1/2 cup of fresh parsley leaves, and 1/4 cup finely chopped onion to every large can of roma/plum tomatoes cooked for about 1-2 hours + salt to taste + add tomato paste as needed to keep the sauce fairly thick; an immersion blender is a good friend at the end of this is you have one)

Getting the water out of the eggplant

  • Cut the top bit off each eggplant
  • Cut the eggplants into 1/4″ to 1/2″ round slices (doesn’t have to be perfect but try not to cut them too thick)
  • Put the eggplants either out on cookie sheets or on your counter or tables with a layer of paper towel underneath them (you can use cloth towels too, but they will stain)
  • Generously salt the eggplant rounds and put another layer of towel on top of them (leave them to sit for about 45 minutes)
  • Remove the top layer of towel and put another fresh layer on top and press lightly on each round to get the water into the towel
  • Stack the eggplant up in small or tall towers for frying

Breading and frying the eggplant

  • Get a pan and fill it half up with olive oil and get the olive oil hot (if it’s not hot then the eggplant will absorb a lot of it because eggplant is spongy)
  • Crack a few eggs and add some milk (if you’ve ever made scrambled eggs, think of that consistency/ratio) and put that in a bowl
  • Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl
  • Dip the eggplant rounds in the egg mixture
  • Dip the eggplant rounds (both sides) in the breadcrumbs (press down on each side to make sure that they’re well covered; I use a fork or my hands to do this step, depending on my mood)
  • Fry in the olive oil until golden brown, remembering to flip and watch them closely
  • Stack the fried rounds on a plate with paper towels underneath and between each layer; the goal here is to soak up some of the excess oil

    *NOTE: You will get between 3 and 6 rounds in each pan-load and this process will absorb a fair bit of olive oil (other oils are better, really, for frying but I tend to like the flavour of olive oil so put up with the need to watch it very closely and change out the oil). For instance, when the oil thins and the excess breadcrumbs start burning it’s a good time to grab a wet paper towel and use it, carefully, to brush out the pan over the sink. Then make sure there’s no oil on the bottom of the pan before you put it back down and add some fresh olive oil. This is all a trial and error sort thing based on your individual set up.

Assembling the dish

  • Get out your glass rectangular casserole dish
  • Add a layer of tomato sauce to the bottom; don’t add too much, you don’t want to see through it but that’s about it
  • Add a layer of eggplant rounds; cut eggplant rounds in different shapes to cover the entire layer, if you’re feeling the urge
  • Add a thin layer of grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • Add a thin layer of grated mozzarella cheese
  • Repeat (I find it useful to “dollop” the sauce on the additional layers and then use a large spoon to spread it around)
  • When you get to the top layer you want to add about twice as much mozzarella cheese as you did in other layers

    *NOTE: Adding thin layers of cheese is crucial to a good flavour balance; you want to taste the eggplant

Baking and eating

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Put it in for about 20-30 minutes (this short time only works if you’re doing it right away while everything is warm/hot); you will have to cook it almost twice as long if it’s from the fridge or defrosted from the freezer)
  • If you want a crispy top, broil the mozzarella for 5 minutes at the end
  • Let it rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes (tinfoil is fine)
  • Serve

    *NOTE: Successful versions of this are not too watery with eggplant that’s not cut too thick so it’s softly and easily cut with a fork


While we may not be able to come together for an evening of great food and supporting our cause, great food can still bring us together, and so we are sharing with you the favourite recipes of our team, volunteers and community partners! Over the next few weeks we will be adding to this virtual cookbook to help inspire you in your own kitchen, and we hope our A Taste at Home campaign bring you the comfort these recipes bring our contributors. While we may be physically distant, we can still come together in a spirit of sharing and giving.

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