In Chapter Seven of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees, Silvia goes through a box of family photos to get inspiration for finishing her painting.  She comes across one from Cosmo’s Confirmation and recalls the party after the ceremony in which Frank and Donna’s father, Cosimo got into a fight over the last piece of eggplant Parmesan. If it had not been so delicious, they may have not gotten into a fight. But prepared correctly, this dish is almost worth fighting over! The family recipe below contains a secret tip from my Grandma which adding the egg wash into the first layer. In her time, no one could afford to waste any food. In addition to not wasting food, this little extra step really adds something to the consistency and taste of the delightful dish below.

Ingredients

marinara sauce 2 cups
egg 1
flour 1/2 cup
milk 1/4 cup
medium eggplant 1
parmesan cheese 2 cups
mozzarella cheese, shredded 2 cups
olive oil 1 cup

1. Cut eggplant into thin (1/4 inch) slices and dip in egg and milk mixture followed by dipping in flour mixture. 2. Fry eggplant slices in olive oil heated on medium heat until all oil is absorbed and eggplant is soft. Remove and let dry on paper towel to absorb excess oil
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
4. Line casserole dish with eggplants, followed by marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, remainder of egg wash. Continue to layer with eggplant, sauce and cheeses until dish is full.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let set for about 20 minutes.