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Parmigiana di Melanzane: Baked Eggplant with Parmesan Recipe

Hello, food lovers!

Today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite meals in the world. And I’m going to share with you my favorite recipe – a parmigiana di melanzane recipe!

I’m speaking of the famous Parmigiana di Melanzane. I don’t actually know how to translate it. What is sure, however, is that eggplants are involved, but the name has nothing to do with Parmesan cheese. Sicilians say that “parmigiana” comes from the ancient word for “eggplant.”

Have you ever tasted it? You can on our Milan Food Tour! If you are – like me – an eggplant lover, and if you are – also like me – a deep-fried food lover, you will love this amazing combination! The odd thing is that this plate is commonly eaten in summer. Of course, eggplants are not a winter vegetable, but if you think of its thickness you might find it a bit too heavy to eat in the hot summer weather! And yet, we do. And so will you!

Here is a parmigiana di melanzane recipe for a number from 4 – 6 people, according to… your hunger lust!

Ingredients:

4 eggplants

1 onion

250g Mozzarella cheese (you can also switch to Scamorza cheese, but don’t use the smoked kind)

100g grated Parmesan

2 eggs

breadcrumbs

1/2 liter tomato sauce

1 garlic slice

extra virgin olive oil

basil

frying oil (seed oil, soy or sunflower)

salt & pepper

Now, wash the eggplants. Clean them, and cut them in slices of half a centimeter. Put them in a colander, covered with some salt for each layer, then leave them for about an hour. This will help drain them. After an hour, you will have to squeeze them, rinse them from the salt and dry them again.

Meanwhile, you can take a large pan, start sautéing your chopped onion and the whole garlic slice together with the olive oil (use 3 or 4 tablespoons). When the garlic is a golden color, take it out, carefully add the tomato sauce, the chopped basil, the salt and the pepper. Cook for 15 minutes, the sauce should remain liquid.

Mix the breadcrumbs and the eggs and dig the eggplant slices in it.

Now it’s time to fry! Open all your windows and, in a large frying pan, heat up a large amount of seed oil. A few at a time, fry the eggplants and, once crispy, put them on a kitchen towel in order to soak up a bit of oil.

Meanwhile, cut the Mozzarella in pieces or slices.

Once you have it all fried and ready, you can build your masterpiece:

Set a large baking tray and spread just a bit of tomato sauce on the bottom, then align the first eggplant layer, followed by some Mozzarella cheese, the sauce, the basil, and the Parmesan. Keep adding layers. The last one should have a thick Parmesan covering the tomato sauce.

Put the parmigiana in the oven, pre-heated at 180° and bake it for half an hour (or a bit more), until the smell starts making you really hungry. The last 3 minutes, set the oven on “grill” mode, and you will have a delicious crust of Parmesan gratin!

Now take it off the oven and… eat it? Nope, not yet.

You need to let it “rest” for about 2 hours! Once that time has passed, the parmigiana will be really thick and solid. And probably still tepid: that’s the moment you can serve it and enjoy!

Healthy tip: You can avoid dipping the eggplants into egg and breadcrumbs mix before frying them; just wet them and roll them into some flour. They will be less thick and crunchy, but still very enjoyable!

Learn more about Italian food by joining a Fat Tire Tour in Milan, Florence, or Rome!

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