Eggplant Parmesan


Here’s another recipe for the GNOME Cookbook, the Italian translation of the recipe is on my cooking blog.

Eggplant parmesan, “parmigiana di melanzane” in Italian, is a typical dish from southern Italy. The name has nothing to do with the city of Parma, as it is placed in northern Italy, or with the Parmesan cheese, as the original version used to contain the cheaper Pecorino cheese. Probably the name comes from the Sicilian word “parmisana” that is a slat of a Venetian blind, referring to the way eggplant slices are put in the baking dish.

Usually eggplant slices are fried in oil but you can grill them to have a lighter (and faster to cook) dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. (1 Kg) eggplants (about 2 or 3)
  • salt
  • flour
  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 lbs. (1 Kg) canned peeled tomatoes
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) cow’s milk (fior di latte) mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions

Wash the eggplants, remove the stems, cut them in slices 1/4 of an inch (1/2 cm) thick, place the slices on a large platter and sprinkle with salt. Place a weight on top of the slices and let stand for at least one hour to make the eggplants tender and remove all bitterness.

Wash the salt off the eggplant slices and dry them. Flour the slices and fry in very hot olive oil. Brown eggplant slices on both sides and set aside to drain on a paper towel.

Brown the onion in olive oil over a low flame. Add the canned peeled tomatoes, mash them with a fork and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sauce is ready adjust with salt and add chopped fresh basil.

Cut the mozzarella cheese into thin slices. Arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a baking dish, spread with some tomato sauce, cover with mozzarella and a thin scattering of Parmesan cheese. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the sauce and a good sprinkling of Parmesan.

Pre-heat the oven to 375º F (190° C) and bake for about 20 minutes.

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Reader Comments

Please don’t call it parmesan, as wikipedia says:

“The term parmesan is also loosely used as a common term for cheeses imitating true Parmesan cheese, especially outside Europe”

Altough parmesan is legally protected in europe, why not calling it with its name: “Parmiggiano Reggiano” or “Grana Padano”?

More info on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parmesan_cheese

Matteo

Wow, what an incredible coincidence. I just cooked this dish yesterday for the first time from a recipe by some italian friends. I didn’t get everything quite right and their recipe doesn’t mention the flour. Still, my housemates considered it eatable – good. Maybe I’ll try to incorporate some of your changes next time.

However, I was expressly forbidden to ever put it in the oven. When you make sure the salsa di pomodori and the melanzane are hot when you put them in the dish together with the cheese it will not require to be put in the oven as the cheese will melt by itself (even though I consider it nice because it creates a nice crust on top… sshhht, don’t tell them). You can eat it cold though the next day.
Be sure to serve with bread to clean the plate though!

Absolutely delicious – just ate it with my girlfriend. Thank you for the recipe.

@Roderik:
Usually eggplant parmesan, lasagne and similar dishes are prepared one or two days before (or more if you keep them in a freezer) and then cooked only when needed, so the oven is needed.

Flour is not essential, but eggplant slices remain crispier using flour.

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