Aubergine Parmigiana, the Italian recipe with tips and tricks
Aubergine Parmigiana is certainly one of the most representative Italian dishes and although the recipe is linked directly to the South of Italy it’s also true it’s origins are uncertain.
The name seems to be linked to the Parmesan cheese but there are also other (never verified) theories according to which aubergine parmesan is called like that because it’s similar to some cake made in the region of Parma in the past. For sure the aubergines, the tomatoes and the mozzarella are all traditionally southern ingredients and that’s why this recipe is strictly connected with the South of Italy, particularly Naples and the surroundings.
The traditional recipe calls for fried aubergine and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese; someone prefer to grill the aubergines but the structure of the dish is really linked to how the aubergines are cooked and frying them seem the best way possible.
Aubergine Parmigiana: ingredients for 6 servings of aubergine Parmigiana
- 2 kg of aubergines
- 150 grams of Parmesan cheese
- 1.5 liters of tomato sauce
- 500 grams of fresh mozzarella
- 6 eggs
- Flour as needed
- Oil for frying
- 1/2 onion
- Extra virgin olive oil
Aubergine Parmigiana: recipe
Cut the aubergines into slices of about one centimeter lengthwise or widthwise. Place them in a colander and sprinkle with coarse salt leaving them to rest for at least 1 hour so that they will lose the bitterness. Rinse under running water, dry them and put aside.
- Make the tomato sauce by frying the onion and then, once soft, add the tomato puree and cook until the sauce is ready. Beat the eggs with some salt.
- In the meantime, flour the aubergines, then dip them into the beaten eggs and then back into the flour. Fry the aubergines in a generous amount of frying oil, drain and set aside.
- When the sauce is ready, start layering the aubergine parmesan by alternating a layer of aubergines with a layer of sauce, then a layer of mozzarella and a layer of parmesan. Repeat the same steps until you get to the top of the pan which must be covered with sauce, mozzarella and parmesan.
- Bake in the oven at 180°C (356ºF) for 40-45 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the aubergine parmesan stand for a few minutes. Serve hot or lukewarm.
Preparation time: about 3 hours
Tips and tricks to make a perfect aubergine Parmigiana
1. Do not forget to sprinkle your aubergines with coarse salt because this is the only way to make them loose their bitterness.
2. Never fry too many aubergines together otherwise the flavor will disappear and you’ll have oil soaked vegetables.
3. If you’ve enough time, drain the mozzarella cheese which, otherwise, will pull out too much fluid.
4. Your tomato sauce has to be quite thick so the aubergines won’t loose their shape while cooking.
The video recipe of the aubergine parmigiana:
[Pics by Giuseppe Milo]