Cast-Iron Baked Eggplant Parmesan

By Cory Vitiello

Serves 6

“The key is to stack the eggplant into the pan very tightly. That way, when you turn it out, you get a spiralled dish where each slice comes off like petals.”


  • Olive oil
  • 6 Japanese eggplants
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • Handful torn basil leaves
  • 4 cups tomato sauce (homemade or store-bought), divided, plus extra for serving
  • 12 oz low-moisture mozzarella (about 3 cups grated), divided
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided, plus extra for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and coat the bottom of a large baking sheet with olive oil.
  2. Slice the eggplants lengthwise into ¼-inch slices. Generously salt both sides and place on paper towel to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. This process helps to extract the excess liquid, impurities, and bitterness from the eggplants.
  3. Once the eggplants have released their liquid, rinse the slices under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. In three large dishes, arrange the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs— this is your breading station. Coat each slice of eggplant first with flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs.
  5. Once each slice is breaded, lay on the oiled baking sheet.
  6. When all the pieces of eggplant are breaded, drizzle them with more olive oil and bake until golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  7. Meanwhile, in a 10-inch cast-iron pan over medium heat, lightly toast the fennel seeds. Add half of the torn basil. Cover the fennel and basil with 2 cups sauce, followed by one-third each of the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  8. Arrange the eggplant in a coil above the sauce and cheese, keeping it as tightly packed as possible. Cover with the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce, followed by the remaining mozzarella, basil, and parm.
  9. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
  10. Remove the eggplant parm from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate or cutting board.
  11. Slice and serve with more tomato sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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