“I’m not a chef, I’m Italian”- David Rocco


Friday, March 22, 2013

Eggplant Parmigiana



Ahh, eggplant, the things you do to me. I love to cook with eggplant, it’s so versatile. I can just grill some with a drizzle of olive oil and pepper, puree it with some garlic, fry it, the possibilities are endless. Plus, I love to sneak some eggplant into meatballs or burger, it adds great texture and taste and saves some calories!! Now of course, there is the classic Italian dish…Eggplant Parmigiana. Not parmesan, PARMIGIANA!!! 

I absolutely love eggplant parmigiana, it’s just….it’s so good, that is, only if it’s made well. I find that it is easy to make a bad eggplant parmigiana, it can be too salty and the eggplant can get so mushy, you don’t even have a clear sense of what you’re really eating. There has to be a perfect balance, not too mushy, not too crispy, not so much sauce that it’s drowning in it and not so much cheese that it’s overpowering. It’s all about balance. I find that my recipe is just right. If you like more cheese and sauce, by all means, add it!! You should make it the way you like it!! But, I promise you, if you try my version, you’ll never go back to the over-sauced, over-cheesed version!!



Eggplant Parmigiana

1 very large eggplant
1 cup of flour (you may need to eyeball it just to be safe)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 eggs, beaten
10 ounces tomato sauce (recipe below)
3 ounces mozzarella
3 ounces parmigiana
2 tbsp. olive oil

Tomato Sauce

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tbsp. onion powder
2 cups chopped tomato (I always use San Marzano)
Handful of fresh basil

For the tomato sauce:

Heat a small pot over medium heat and add 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped garlic. Allow the garlic to roast a little, around 6 minutes. Add the onion powder and mix. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for around 10 minutes. Add a handful of chopped basil and turn the heat to low and cook for another 25 minutes. In the meantime, you can begin the eggplant preparation…

For the eggplant:

Prepare a deep pan with 4 tbsp. olive oil and put over medium heat. Clean the eggplant and cut into very thin slices. Add flour to a flat, shallow bowl and add salt and pepper. Dip the slices in a little flour and then the beaten eggs. Fry in the hot oil for around 3 minutes each side; be careful that they don’t burn. When they look done, drain and dry on a wire rack. Finish frying all of the eggplant.

Get out a casserole or lasagna dish and pour a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Then, add a layer of eggplant slices. Sprinkle a little parmigiana on top, pour a little more sauce, a little parmgiana and another layer of eggplant, and continue in this order until you’re finished with all of the ingredients, but the layer has to be of the eggplant!! Top the final layer with tomato sauce, a sprinkle of parmigiana and the mozzarella. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the top has become a beautiful golden brown. When it appears to be done, take it out and let it cool and set for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve immediately! Buon Appetito!!