Having a longstanding connection to all things Italian, eons ago I delved into the language, the culture and the food. Ah, the food. Enough said.
We’ve all had eggplant parmigiana. Many of us have a favorite recipe. This recipe may bump yours by a notch or two. The fact that it doesn’t rely on oodles of oil and masses of goopy cheese, hmmmmm, sounds good, tastes better.
My inspiration for eggplant parmigiana is multifold. It is a favorite dish of my mother-in-law, who just turned double eight. A favorite dish of my good friend Mimi who is ‘6-0’ today and it brings me spiritually closer to my good friend Jojo – my dear partner in everything Italian.
This version of eggplant parmigiana was drawn from Jamie Oliver’s ‘jaime’s italy’, melanzane alla parmigiana. I can’t deny that it takes work. But I can assure you that you will decide it was worth the effort.
- 2-3 large firm eggplant
- olive oil
- 2 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 2 heaping t dried oregano
- 2 28oz cans of good quality plum tomatoes or 5 Ibs ripe
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 2 T wine vinegar
- 2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
- 4 large handfuls of parmesan cheese
- 2 handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
- a little fresh oregano, leaves chopped
- optional 1 5-oz ball of buffalo mozzarella
Saute the onions, garlic and dried oregano for about 10 minutes, in a tablespoon of olive oil until soft and slightly golden.
Add the chopped tomatoes to the onions, covering and simmering for 15 minutes. Then add salt, pepper, wine vinegar and the chopped basil.
Slice the eggplant 1/3 inch thick then grill on both sides until golden and translucent using one of those grill pans like the one from Pampered Chef that comes with a press.
Use a 10x6x5 inch earthenware type casserole, beginning with a small amount of tomato sauce, then a thin layer of pamigiana, ending with a single layer of grilled eggplant.
Continue until you run out of ingredients ending with a parmigiana layer.
Tear the buffalo mozzarella into tiny blobs on the final parmigiana layer, then sprinkle on the bread crumbs and fresh oregano, lightly moistened with olive oil. Bake in a 375F oven for 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
Thanks to my wonderful family for sampling and appreciating my Jittery Cooking.