Melanzana Parmigiana is an Italian dish made with a shallow or deep-fried sliced aubergine filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5kg large firm aubergines
  • 300g mozzarella, cubed or alternatively Cacicavallo
  • 1 onion whole
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 50g rock salt (for the aubergines)
  • 1.5 litre tomato passata
  • 150g. grated parmesan
  • 100g olive oil
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Sunflower oil – enough for frying the aubergines
  • Plain flour for coating the aubergines

METHOD

Stage 1 : Slice the aubergines lengthways about 1cm thick

Slice the aubergines

Stage 2 : Put the aubergines in a large bowl with a pinch of rock salt between each layer to remove bitterness for about one hour

Stage 3 : Prepare the tomato sauce by chopping the onion into small pieces and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil together with the cloves of garlic for about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves before they become brown.  Add the tomato passata and bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then put to one side for later.

Stage 4 : Rinse the aubergines under running water and dry well with kitchen paper

Stage 5 : Begin to fry the aubergines by first dipping them in flour and then frying them in very hot oil (approximately 150 degrees Celsius) when they are golden, remove and dry them in kitchen paper.

Stage 6 : Using an oven proof dish drizzle with a little olive oil and some of the tomato sauce made earlier.

Stage 7 : Lay the aubergines in the tray in layers placing on each layer the tomato sauce some of the mozzarella, some basil leaves and some of the grated parmesan. Every layer should criss cross over the one below. The last layer should use the last of the tomato sauce and have an abundant covering of Parmesan cheese.

Tomato Sauce

Stage 8 : Place the tray in an oven heated to 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes

Stage 9 : Once out of the oven let it rest for a few minutes before serving either with a tomato sauce or simply with salad. Buon Appetito!

Another variation is instead of frying the aubergines, to grill the them after marinating in olive oil, garlic and oregano – making the dish lighter.