Eggplant Parmesan (Parmigiana)
There are 2 secrets to making this dish. The first secret is to try and get as much moisture out of the eggplant as possible. The second secret is to let it sit for a while so that the Eggplant Parmesan has time to set up. If you take it out of the oven and try to cut it right away, it will be watery and difficult to serve.
Another trick that many people like to use when making Eggplant Parmesan is to peal the eggplant. Some people believe that the eggplant skin will make it bitter and others feel that the skin gives it extra flavor. We have made it both ways and we tend to like it better without the eggplant skin. We hope that you decide to try this recipe and share some Eggplant Parmesan with friends and family.
• 1400ml/6 cups of tomato puree
• Extra virgin olive oil
• One small onion
• Two cloves of garlic
• Table salt
• Fresh basil leaves
• 1.5kg/3lbs eggplant/aubergine
• Coarse or kosher salt
• 300g/11oz of a firm, savoury Italian cheese suitable for melting
• 150g/1 cup grated parmesan cheese
• Some canola or vegetable oil for frying the eggplant
First slice the eggplant into slices about a centimeter (a little less than a half inch) thick. Now in a sieve resting over a bowl, form layers of the eggplant slices, sprinkling a pinch of coarse salt between each layer. Finish off with another pinch of salt and cover the whole thing with a plate and something to weigh it all down. By doing this, the water that’s naturally in the eggplant will drain out into the bowl. The eggplant needs to drain for about an hour and a half. In the meantime, we can prepare the tomato sauce by putting a bit of olive oil into a pot, adding the garlic and diced onion and sautéing them over a medium-low heat until soft but not browned. Then add the tomato puree and after everything is cooked through and well heated, finish off the sauce with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and the fresh basil leaves.
After the eggplant has drained, rinse the slices well under running water to get rid of the extra salt, and dry them very thoroughly with paper towels. Now, it’s time to fry them in the vegetable oil.
Finally, we can assemble our eggplant parmesan. In a casserole dish, add a thin layer of tomato sauce and then add the fried eggplant, forming a complete layer…like this. Now we’ll add another layer of sauce over the eggplant. Now comes a sprinkling of the grated parmesan cheese and finally the slices of cheese — you can add more or less according to how you like it. At this point, we’ll start on the second layer. Remember, if you’ve layered your eggplant horizontally in the first layer, go vertically in the second layer. We’ll finish off the dish with a layer of sauce and a good sprinkling of parmesan and now we’re ready to bake the dish at 200⁰C/395⁰F for about 40 minutes.
Leave it to cool so that the layers can settle and make serving each portion easier.
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