( MAKES 4-5 )
Photo by Tam West
I love to eat this simple, honest dish in winter alongside any fish or meat, or even just with a good loaf of crunchy bread and very simple green salad. It originated in the south of Italy, in Campania and in Sicily, with both regions claiming it as their own. It’s also known as parmigiana di melanzane and there are a number of ways of making it and many, many variations thereof. I worked with a very passionate Italian chef named Vincenzo who showed me this version, which his mum made in their home.
|3 medium||Eggplant, or 2 large eggplant, sliced into 1.5cm rounds|
|1 drizzle||Olive oil, as needed|
|½ cup||Onion, finely chopped|
|2 tsp||Garlic, crushed|
|1 can||Tomatoes, chopped and peeled|
|1 cup||Basil leaves, freshly picked, coarsely sliced|
|250 g||Fresh mozzarella balls, sliced|
|½ cup||Grated parmesan cheese|
- Heat oven to 200C. Heat a large frying pan or a barbecue hot plate to medium. Dry-fry the eggplant slices without oil until browned on both sides. Add oil to pan and re-fry slices until golden on both sides, add more oil when necessary, drain on paper towels and season with salt.
- Place a small saucepan on a medium heat and cook onion and garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar and half the basil then season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes until thick.
- Place 5 eggplant slices on a greased ovenproof dish. Spoon on tomato sauce, add sliced mozzarella, sprinkle over parmesan and a little basil. Add another layer of eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil then repeat.
- Bake for 15 minutes and finish with a sprinkling of fresh basil and drizzle of olive oil.
More of Geoff's vege recipes