Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Pair this dish with a crisp green salad and some crusty garlic bread, and you'll have one truly satisfying meal! The Kitchen Crew and I love the blending of flavors in this recipe. Even those who otherwise don't care for eggplant dove right in for seconds. Now that's a ringing endorsement!
all purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
1Prepare the sauce first. Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tablespoons olive oil, then the onions. Sauté until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute. Add the tomatoes, basil and 2 Tbsp oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until slightly reduced, about 20-30 minutes.
2Meanwhile, cut the eggplant into about 1/3-inch thick slices. Place the seasoned flour on a large plate or waxed paper. Place the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Place the breadcrumbs on a large plate or waxed paper and mix in the remaining 3 tablespoons oregano. Dredge the eggplant first in the flour, then dip into the egg wash, then dredge int he breadcrumbs, shaking off excess crumbs.
3Heat about 1/2-inch olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant in batches, about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown, adding more oil between batches as needed. Let drain on baking racks or paper towels.
4Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13x9x2 baking dish with olive oil or spray. Spoon a thin layer of sauce onto the bottom. Top with one-third of the eggplant in one layer. Spread about one-third of the sauce over the eggplant, then scatter with one-third of the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Repeat the layers two times (If you don't have quite enough eggplant for the top layer, just space it out evenly. If there's too much, overlap as needed.)
5Bake until hot and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting ans serving.
6(NOTE: If desired, the casserole may be assembled a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Add 20 - 30 minutes to the baking time, checking to be certain it is hot in the center. Leftovers reheat very well in the oven or microwave.)