EGGPLANT PARMESAN WITH FRESH MOZZARELLA
adapted from epicurious
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 10 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 8 whole
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 4 medium or 8 small eggplants (about 4 pounds), halved lengthwise
- 8 sprigs oregano
- 1 1/4 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-size pieces
- 3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated (about 3/4 cup)
- Heat 1/4 cup oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6–8 minutes.
- Add chopped garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until beginning to darken, about 2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands as you add them; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, mashing tomatoes occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15–20 minutes. Set tomato sauce aside.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a vegetable peeler, remove skin from rounded side of each eggplant half, leaving a 1" strip of skin around the cut edges. Divide eggplants, oregano sprigs, whole garlic cloves, and 1/2 cup oil between 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Turn eggplants to coat with oil; season with salt and pepper and place cut side down. Cover baking sheets tightly with foil and bake until eggplants are very soft, 40–45 minutes.
- Toss breadcrumbs and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Transfer eggplants, oregano, and garlic to 2 large shallow baking dishes, placing eggplants cut side up.
- Top eggplants with tomato sauce and mozzarella, then sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Bake until mozzarella is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden, 25–30 minutes.