Eggplant Parmesan, or Melanzane alla Parmigiana, brings to me fond memories of summer vacations and picnics at the beach with the whole family sharing good homemade food. A classic dish, Eggplant Parmesan in Italy is often prepared in advanced and served the next day, when all the flavors are beautifully blended together, transforming the dish into a tasty piece of heaven.
The origin of Eggplant Parmesan is not exactly clear, some say it was create in the northern city of Parma (alla Parmigiana means in the style of Parma), others affirm that it was first prepared in the Sicily where eggplants grow so beautifully. Nowadays, eggplants are easily available all year around a bit everywhere, but of course the best Eggplant Parmesan is always made in summer, when all the ingredients are in season and full of flavor. Choose medium size eggplants, firm and without any blemish on the skin.
This Italian Eggplant Parmesan recipe is for a typical whole casserole for 4-6 people.
Ingredients and Instructions (serves 4-6):
- 4 medium eggplants
- 1 1/2 cans of tomatoes (14.5 oz/411 g can)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 4 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- vegetable oil for frying
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 pound/225 grams of mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
- Slice the eggplants, about 1/4 inch thick; sprinkle with salt and place them in a colander with a plate and a weight on top to let the bitter juices ran off. After 1 hour pat them dry.
- Meanwhile, put the canned tomatoes trough a food mill and puree; in a pan, sauté the diced onion with the olive oil and cook with the diced onion, basil, salt and pepper for about 10-15 minutes over medium heat; since the amount of liquid in the tomatoes may vary, just cook until the sauce is reduce but do not let it become thick.
- Heat up the frying oil in a pan, dredge the sliced eggplants in the flour and fry them, 2 or 3 at a time, until lightly browned. Drain on paper towels.
- Cut the mozzarella in thin slices, then preheat the oven at 350 F/180 C.
- Spread 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a medium size baking dish; arrange the eggplants in the dish in an even layer, cutting them as needed to fill up edges and gaps. Spread over some tomato sauce, not too much; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then lay over some of the mozzarella slices.
- Repeat in the same way with the remaining eggplants and mozzarella cheese, ending with a layer of eggplants on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for about 1 and 1/2 hour and let cool off at least 20 minutes before serving.
Eggplant Parmesan is even better if prepared in advance and eaten the next day, cold or sligthly warm. If possible, avoid the microwave to reheat and use a regular oven for 5 minutes.
Wine suggestion: a full body red is always a good wine choice for Eggplant Parmesan. Chianti, Sangiovese but also Syrah and Cabernet are my suggested wines.
Simple Delicious Italian Recipe is the perfect cookbook for any Italian food lover.
Buy and download your copy today from the BellaOnline eBook page.