The traditional eggplant parmigiana has become a bit more modern and flavorful this year!
This recipe has the eggplant cut into paper-thin slices and then fried till crispy and golden before being rolled into beautiful little “roses” with mozzerella and a smoked paprika tomato sauce on top. This version is much lighter and so pretty to serve with the individual portions of each “rose.” The sauce is made with fresh garlic and onions and so flavorful with a little kick of heat that goes perfectly with the mildness of the eggplant.
You definitely won’t want to miss out making this AND devouring it!
Note: You can also make this recipe using ZUCCHINI slices instead of eggplant.
Eggplant Parmigiana Roses in a Smoked Paprika Tomato Sauce
Servings: 8-10 portions
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup of finely diced red onion.
- 3 Tbsp minced garlic
- 8 oz. tin of tomato sauce
- ½ cup vodka (*optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika.
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 4 Tbsp. butter
- ¼ cup to ½ cup water
- 1 large Italian eggplant cut into paper-thin slices (1/8 inch.)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp. pepper
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 quarts oil for frying
- 8 oz. of fresh mozzarella cut into thin pieces.
- ½ cup of shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp. shredded basil for garnish
- In a deep pan add olive oil on medium heat. Once oil is heated, add onions and garlic. Sauté till onions become translucent. (about 5-7 minutes)
- Add in tomato paste and mix.
- (Optional) Add in vodka to deglaze pan and mix for about 2 minutes.
- Add in heavy cream, crushed pepper, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Lower heat and mix well with spoon till everything is fully blended. About 3-4 minutes.
- Once sauce begins to gently bubble, lower heat. If sauce is too thick for your liking, add in ¼ cup water to loosen up. Add more for a thinner sauce.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat frying oil in Dutch oven or large pot on medium-high heat.
- In a flat plate or try, mix in all purpose flour with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder – toss well till everything is fully incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together.
- Line a large tray with a napkin before frying.
- Clean and cut eggplant into thin 1/8 slices by splitting eggplant into 4 long pieces with knife and then cutting thin, long slices from each piece. (Like thin bacon slices.) – remove the green stem from top.
- Dredge each piece of eggplant into egg mixture and then seasoned flour and place into frying pan. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (Remove any excess flour or egg from eggplant before placing into hot oil. It should have a very light crust, not thick at all.)
- Repeat frying with all eggplant slices. Fry about 6-8 slices at a time. Every time you remove a batch, place on napkin lines tray. You will have layers of napkins between each batch to ensure that all excess oil is removed.
- Once eggplant is fried, take another napkin, and press down on the tray by hand to remove any extra oil that may have not drained.
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Add about 1 ladle worth of tomato sauce on bottom of an 8×8 pan or small pie pan.
- Take 1 slice of eggplant and add a few pieces of mozzarella on top (about 3-4 thin slices that may need to be broken up to fit the eggplant slice.) Layer with another slice of eggplant and mozzarella cheese. (Make sure to have all skin-side edges in the same direction to make the “rose” look.) Make about 4-5 layers and then carefully roll from right to left till you have an eggplant “rose”. Place in pan with the open edge pressed against the edge of the pan.
- Repeat steps with remaining eggplant till you have all eggplant “roses” completed and open edges pressed again pan or another “rose” to ensure it stay closed.
- Spoon the remaining tomato sauce on top of the eggplant and all around the pan till fully coated.
- Top with any extra mozzarella slices and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until edges of the eggplant look a bit crispy and cheese has fully melted. Sauce should be bubbling too.
- Remove and garnish with basil.
- Serve immediately while hot.
The baked eggplant roses soak up all the delicious sauce like a sponge so every bite is cheesy and perfectly flavored! Plus, fresh basil makes it have such a great addition of flavor – you will love it!
So, let me know what you think of this recipe? Would you try making it?
Also, for more food inspiration, check out my IG at @cmspiceculture.