Dear friends, I hope you are enjoying the last weeks of precious summer. I can say I have been very much as well, having been on holiday for the last few weeks; and only as the inevitable end is nearing did I realise my scheduled posting took a holiday on it’s own and decided not post anything I’ve been meticulously preparing before heading south.
You could say my relationship with technology is in serious need of counselling, but while I’m soaking in the last moments of holiday, I wanted to share one of my all time favorites coming from the country I’m currently in.
It’s little secret, that apart from chocolate, I could probably survive on eggplants and tomatoes only, and at the height of their season I try to include them in every meal I can.
Melanzane alle parmigiana, or simply eggplant and parmesan bake celebrates both in most comforting, satisfying and dangerously addictive way. I like to add in plenty of buffalo mozzarella for and additional creamy touch, sneaking in bites, while cooking (I really do recommend using quality buffalo mozzarella here as it does make a difference for the final result).
It’s best eaten straight out of the oven with plenty of crusty bread and green salad on the side, and smile on the face.
Wishing all a lovely week and waiting to catching up once home again.
- 3 large eggplants, sliced
- few tablespoons salt
- 2 balls buffalo mozzarella, sliced
- ½ cup grated parmiggiano reggiano
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups tomato passata
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- freshly ground pepper
- a good handful of basil leaves
- crusty bread
- green salad (optional)
- Sprinkle the eggplants with salt, cover with a towel and leave for at least 30 minutes. This will drain the liquid out of the eggplants and prevent the dish from becoming watery.
- In the meanwhile make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the shallots for 3-4 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Add the chopped garlic and continue to cook for a few for another 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in tomato passata, add sugar, season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 15 minutes, on low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Once water has stated leaking out of eggplants, wash them with running water and dry by firmly pressing each piece between a towel.
- Heat a griddle pan till smoking hot and grill each eggplant piece for a 1 minute on each side.
- Just before assembling, roughly chop basil and stir into tomato sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
- Using either one large oven proof dish or four individual ones assemble as following: start with a little tomato sauce, a light layer of Parmesan, followed by a layer of eggplants, a little tomato sauce, a layer of mozzarella, continuing with the rest.
- Finish tomato sauce and a generous layer of grated Parmesan.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
- Serve immediately with crusty bread and green salad.