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Melanzane alla parmigiana

About 3 weeks ago I tried a new recipe. The stimulus came from my garden - I had a number of eggplants ready to be used. I tried the recipe then posted it on the Slow Travel message board, in a premium forum. After a few days, I happened to check to see if anybody had tried it and was amazed to discover that I had started a lengthy and passionate discussion about the recipe. The discussion seemed to focus around two issues.

1. Should it be parmigiana or parmiggiana?

2. How to prepare the eggplant slices.

The discussion escalated/degenerated (pick one) into into a massive food fight referred to as the The Great Slowtravel Melanzane War. The discussion is still proceeding, although there is more light than heat at present. It has occurred to me that others, without access to the premium forum on Slow Travel, might be interested in the recipe. So here is my original post:

Baked eggplant with tomato, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

This recipe is from Twelve, a Tuscan Cook Book by Tessa Kiros. I made it yesterday with just-picked eggplants and fresh garlic from my garden.

Ingredients:

* 3 medium eggplants cut into 3mm (1/8")slices
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
* 5 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped, or 400 g (14 oz) tin of peeled tomatoes, chopped
* about 10 basil leaves, roughly torn
* flour for dusting the eggplants
* olive oil for frying
* 300 g (10 1/2 oz) mozzarella cheese, cut into 5 cm (1/4") slices
* 50 g (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

* Cut the eggplant slices and put them in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and leave for about 30 minutes to allow the bitter juices to drain away
* Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)
* To make the tomato sauce, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and as soon as you begin to smell the garlic, add the tomatoes and half of the basil. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have melted into the sauce
* Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly dust both sides with flour. Heat enough olive oil to come 1cm (1/2") up the side of a saucepan. Heat the oil and fry to eggplants in batches until golden brown on both sides, adding a little more oil if necessary. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.
* Spoon a little of the tomato sauce into a square or round oven dish of roughly 30 cm (12"). Cover with a layer of eggplant slices. Add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, then a layer of the mozzarella cheese slices. Add the remaining basil leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat to use up the ingredients. Put into the hot oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and crusty. Cool slightly before cutting into servings. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

Modifications: I had to double the tomato ingredient to follow the cooking directions. I used Roma tomatoes - perhaps a larger variety would have solved the problem.

How was it?

Deeelish! I'll make it again in about a week when I can use fresh tomatoes, along with the eggplant and garlic, from my garden.

Comments (2)

Doug - you are a brave man posting this again. prepare for WW III!

kathy:

I never sprinkle aubergines in salt before cooking. Bitter juices? What bitter juices? I don't dust in flour or fry...too oily. I grill them or cook in my Lakeland Remoska before baking in oven.

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