MELANZANE ALLA PARMIGIANA: Eggplant Parmigiana
Chargrilled eggplant works beautifully in this classic dish. It’s actually the only way I make it in L.A. I have a weakness for the chargrilled flavor that you won’t get with frying. The joy of this dish is in the layering. Two layers of eggplant will do, but three or four are divine.
- 4 to 5 medium to large eggplants, cut in 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Sicilian dried oregano
- 6 cups quality tomato sauce (see recipe for Salsa Pronta, page 326)
- 1/3 cup pecorino or parmigiano cheese, finely grated
- 1 bunch of basil, stems removed and chopped
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Place the eggplant rounds in a large bowl. Liberally sprinkle salt all over them and allow them to sit in the bowl to release the excess water from the eggplant. After 45 minutes to 1 hour, drain the water from the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, coating each slice, then season with the black pepper, garlic, and oregano.
Grill each round 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
Heat the tomato sauce on medium-high flame.
Drizzle the bottom of a large ceramic or glass baking dish with olive oil and cover it with 1 cup of tomato sauce. Line the bottom of the baking dish with a layer of eggplant. Spoon tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Add grated cheese and basil leaves. Then repeat with another layer of eggplant. Coat with another layer of sauce, cheese, and basil. Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6.
This recipe from FROM SCRATCH by Tembi Locke from Simon & Schuster.