I grew up in an Italian-Canadian household and in August, eggplant rules!
It is one of my favourite, late summer vegetables and I prepare it in many ways. Cooks that are unfamiliar with eggplant may be intimidated by it, but it is a wonderful, satisfying vegetable that can even make a hearty main course for vegetarians!
Look for bright, dark purple eggplant with no blemishes on the skin. I prefer the smaller varieties that are more tender with less seeds or the Sicilian, round style that are milky white inside and so tender!
Eggplant Parmigiana can be found throughout Southern Italy and there are a number of ways of preparing it. This is the style that can be found in the Region of Puglia, a place we visit often on my food & wine tours!
This recipe is one of over 50 recipes found in my cookbook, Natalina’s Kitchen: Bringing homemade back!
This is typical Southern Italian recipe found in Calabria, Sicily and Puglia.
We have hosted tours to all these regions in the past… why not join us there! All the details on our tours can be found here!
Ciao for now, Natalina
- 1 batch of chunky tomato, basil sauce , link to recipe below*
- ½ tsp Italian dried oregano
- 2 large or 4 medium eggplants
- 2 cups of grated mozzarella block cheese or 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 2 eggs beaten
- ½ cup of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano D.O.P. cheese
- Flour for dredging
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Slice the eggplants either peeled or with skin on, into rounds, ½ inch thick. Season generously with salt and layer in a colander placed in the sink. Let this sit for 20-30 minutes. The bitter liquid will be released. Gently squeeze and pat dry with a paper towel .
- Place some flour in a shallow pan for dredging. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow bowl. Heat a large frying pan on medium -high heat with about 1 inch of vegetable oil.
- Dip the slices of eggplant in the flour and coat evenly. Next , dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg and allow the excess to drip off. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on both sides. Drain on a paper towel lined tray.
- Puree the tomato sauce with a blender or immersion blender when cooled and then add the oregano. Add ½ cup of water to thin down the sauce. Add ample sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, I prefer stone or earthenware. Layer the eggplant , overlapping slightly. Spoon more sauce on top to cover the eggplant. Sprinkle both cheeses on top.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 400 degree /180 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes , or until the sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted. Remove the foil for the last few minutes of baking and allow the cheese to cook to a golden colour.