1/4 cup olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves crushed
1 large red onion, chopped
3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 28-oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 pound Italian eggplants , (about 4 medium) peeled, sliced lengthwise 1/2-3/4 thick
3 cups Panko
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/3 cups olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped basil and parsley, plus basil leaves for serving
6 oz. low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 oz. fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in large heavy ovenproof pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring often, until
golden, about 4 minutes. Add onion, anchovies and red pepper flakes and cook stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until slightly darkened, about two minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, breaking up with your hands and their juices; add basil and oregano and stir to combine. Swirl 1 1/2 cups water into 1 tomato can, then the other to rinse , add to pot, season with salt. Transfer pot to oven ; roast sauce, stirring halfway through until thick and tomatoes are browned on top and around
edges pot, 2 - 2 1/2 hours
Sauce can be made two days ahead
Lightly season eggplant slices all over with salt; place in a single layer on several layers of paper towels
inside a rimmed baking sheet
Top with another layer of paper towels and more more slices; repeat as needed. Top with a final layer of paper towels, then another rimmed baking sheet, weigh down with a heavy pot. Let eggplant set until it has released excess liquid, 45-60 minutes. This step gives the eggplant a creamy texture w hen baked.
Meanwhile pulse panic,oregano,pepper, and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a food processor until very finely ground. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 º . Place flour in another shallow bowl and eggs in a third shallow bowl.
Working one a time dredge eggplant slices in flour, then dip in egg, allowing excess to drip off. coat in breadcrumbs, packing in all around, then shaking off excess. Place on wire racks
Heat 2/3 cup olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat.
Cook as many eggplant slices as will comfortably fit in the pan, turning once, until deep golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels and immediately press with more paper towels to absorb oil. Working in batches, repeat with remaining slices, adding remaining 2/3 cup olive and wiping out skillet as needed. Let cool. Taste and season with more salt if needed.
Toss chopped herbs, low moisture mozzarella
and remaining 3/4 cup Parmesan in a medium bowl. Spread 1 cup sauce over the bottom of a 13x9 baking pan; top with a layer of eggplant slices. Drizzle 1 cup sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of cheese mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1 cup sauce and half of remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers with remaining slices, sauce, and cheese mixture. Cover with foil and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until eggplant is custardy, about 45-60 minutes.
Remove from oven and arrange fresh mozzarella over eggplant. Increase oven to 425º and bake, uncovered, until cheese is bubbling and browned in spots, 15-20 minutes longer. Let rest 30 minutes. Top with basil leaves just before serving.
Eggplant can be made two days ahead. Let cool; cover with foil and chill. Reheat in a 350º oven, uncovering halfway through, until bubbling gently at edges