Parmigiana with Fresh Aubergines and Tomato Sauce
Parmigiana with fresh Aubergines and Tomato sauce
- 2 oz garlic
- 6 tablespoon oil extra virgin
- 4 aubergines, cut into long, 5mm thick slices
- 200g parmesan, grated
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 basil leaves
- 800g chopped tomatoes
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. In a shallow pan, mix together the garlic and 4 tbsp of the olive oil. Cook over a high heat for 3 mins, tip in the tomatoes, then simmer for 8 mins, stirring every now and then and adding salt, pepper and the basil towards the end. Slice the aubergines about 1cm (1/2 inch) thick. Dust the slices on both sides with flour. Beat the eggs, season with salt, and dip the floured aubergine slices into this. Fry the aubergine slices three or four times in some hot oil. Brown on both sides, remove and drain on kitchen paper. When all the aubergines are cooked, lay a few of them in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Put two or three spoonfuls of tomato sauce in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish, then arrange a layer of the aubergine slices, placed as close together as possible. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Add seasoning, then repeat this process with the remaining ingredients creating layers. Finally, sprinkle over a little more Parmesan, then bake for 20 mins or until the topping is golden.
Aubergine Parmigiana is a fantastic main dish, cooked all over Italy and can be an excellent vegetarian main course. This is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy, associated with Naples's cuisine, but it is popular in Calabria and Sicily too. The first mention for this dish can be found in Il Saporetto by Simone Prudenzani (1387-1440), where the recipe refers to “parmisciana.” The eighteenth-century Neapolitan chef Vincenzo Corrado in his book Il Cuoco Galante published in 1786 maintains that to cook melanzane alla Parmegiana means that the aubergines will be seasoned with butter, herbs, cinnamon and other spices and grated parmigiano cheese. In the end he suggests to cover with a cream sauce made with egg yolks before being oven-baked.