How to prepare baked aubergines layered with tomato basil and smoked mozzarella.
Parmigiana is a main course, so easy to prepare and so tasty. So today, I am going to explain how to prepare the baked aubergine at home. Parmigiana (a short form of baked aubergines) is a Southern Italian dish made with a shallow-fried sliced filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked. Parmigiana made with a filling of eggplant is the earliest version.
The dish is claimed by both Campania and Sicily. My grandmother used to prepare aubergine parmigiana. Its taste is amazing, one you tried once, you will prepare it again.
- 2 aubergine cut into 1cm thick slices lengthways
- 500 grams of tomato sauce. The recipe is here .
- 2 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- fresh basil leaves
- sea salt to taste
- oil to taste
- 100-125 g Parmesan, finely grated
- 25 g smoked cheese
- 2 x 125 g balls buffalo mozzarella cheese or classic one
- salt to taste
Preparation of aubergines:
- Place the aubergines on a work surface and slice the aubergines lengthways about 1/2cm thick.
- Tip: If you have any time, salt the aubergines first to extract the water by sprinkling the slices with a little salt and draining them in a colander for 1 hour. The aubergines usually requires this process. If you are in Italy, you have to do it to remove the bitterness of the eggplants. Here, in Dublin, it isn’t necessary because the aubergines or eggplants are not bitter at all. Anyway, it is a process well worth doing to prevent the finished dish becoming watery.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and gently sizzle for 2 minutes.
- Once hot, fry the aubergines in batches on both sides until golden.
- Remove them from a pan and drain on layer of kitchen paper. Make sure they are completely dry frying oil. Let the eggplant rest for 10 minutes and put them aside.
- In the main time, make the tomato sauce and puree with a hand-held blender or food processor until smooth. For the recipe click here.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degree (gas4)
Preparation of baked aubergines, if you are using a lasagne dish:
- Cut or tear the mozzarella into pieces and drain in a sieve for a couple of hours or overnight in the fridge
- Pour one-third of the tomato sauce into a medium lasagne dish and lay over one-third of aubergines slices.
- Top with one- third of mozzarella cheese, Parmesan, smoked cheese and basil leaves.
- Repeat twice more, finishing with a layer of tomato sauce (or the cheese will burn)
- Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes
If using individual moulds:
- You’ll need 4 semi-spherical moulds, 8 cm each wide and 4 cm deep
- Line the mould with aubergines slices, allowing the ends to flop over the sides as you wil need to fold them over
- Tip: There will be leftover slices that can be cut up and used for the layers inside the moulds
- Add a spoonful of tomato sauce to each mould, then top with layers of mozzarella, Parmesan, smoked cheese, basil leaves and aubergines cut to fit.
- Tip: Make sure you slightly overfill the moulds asa they will sink during cooking. Finish by folding over the aubergines slices.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until darkened and buddying.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Carefully invert the moulds onto a baking tray and leave for few minutes while you heat up the remaining tomato sauce.
- Spoon a circle of sauce in the centre of each warmed plate.
- Using s fish slice, carefully place the domes on the top of the sauce.
- Top with a little more tomato sauce and a basil leaf.
- Serve immediately with bread to mop up the sauce.
- If you have some baked aubergines left, don’t worry. You can keep eating the rest in the following days.
- You will be surprised how sublime is its taste, the day after.
- You can serve baked aubergines with a bottle of wine called Lambrusco of Sorbara.
Hope you will enjoy this italian traditional dish as much I do.
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