Step 1Heat oven to 400º F. Brush a thin layer of olive oil on the pan and place in the oven to heat.
Step 2Slice the eggplant into ½ -inch thick slices. If not super fresh, sprinkle with a light layer of salt. Wait 10 minutes. After 10 minutes blot the eggplant with a paper towel to remove any moisture. DO NOT rinse the eggplant.
Dip each slice first into the flour covering both sides, then dip both sides into the egg wash, and finally into the seasoned bread crumbs. (Remember the wet hand/dry hand approach here.) Lightly brush the top with olive oil. or spray with olive oil cooking spray. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully place the eggplant slices on the preheated baking sheet, bake 30 - 35 minutes or until the eggplant is softened, browned, with a crisp top.
Step 3Spread a small amount of the marinara evenly over the bottom of a baking dish that is just large enough to hold the eggplant (For 4 servings I used an 8 x 8-inch baking dish) Add a layer of eggplant, spoon sauce over, sprinkle with ½ of the mozzarella and parmesan. Make another layer finishing with the cheese. Cover and bake for 30 minutes uncover and continue baking for 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is browned and the casserole is hot and bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Top with basil.
If your eggplant is fresh from the garden or farmer's market, you can omit the salting, otherwise, I recommend it.Do not peel your eggplant.Use Italian Globe Eggplant, either purple or white, not Japanese or Chinese thin eggplant for best results.Fresh buffalo mozzarella will give great flavor, but fewer ooey-gooey cheese strings. If you don't need to salt your eggplant to remove moisture, salt it to give it flavor.