Eggplant Parmigiana

First let’s make the sauce.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices
5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 (28-ounce) cans of whole plum tomatoes

The Eggplant:
2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds , I remove skin.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons whole milk
4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup of fresh basil if you can or 2 teaspoons of dried
1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 pound provolone cheese, grated

To start the tomato sauce, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use the back of your spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time.  Set aside to cool.
I recommend that you peel and slice eggplant and arrange on cookie sheet. Sprinkle both sides with salt to draw out the bitterness and the excess water. After an hour, rinse under cold water and pat dry.
Heat oil in large frying pan or skillet. Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, beat  together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant.  One by one start cooking eggplant until golden brown on both sides. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan and provolone cheeses. Top with a layer of torn basil leaves. Spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. End with the remaining mozzarella. Carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish after assembled.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 
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