This is one of my familie’s favourite Italian dishes. It can be served hot or at room temperature. Goes wonderfully well with crusty Italian bread.
3 Eggplants (thinly sliced lengthways)
1 cup of Olive Oil (for frying)
300 grams of Tomato Paste
1/2 cup of Marjoram
1 Spanish Onion (finely chopped)
1 clove Garlic (finely chopped)
Salt (to lightly salt the eggplant)
3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Cheese
1/2 cup of water Pepper to taste
Preparation Time: 1 hour & 30 minutes
Serves: 6-8 (As an accompaniment to a meal)
Wash and pat dry the eggplants. Thinly slice the eggplants lengthways and sprinkle lightly with salt to draw out the moisture. Allow to stand for approximately 20 minutes. Heat oil in the frying pan. Pat dry the sliced eggplant with a paper towel before adding to the hot pan. If the oil is too hot reduce the heat to medium and allow the eggplants to soften and become golden in colour. When you have cooked all the eggplant place aside and allow to cool a little. In a pan place some oil and fry the onions until they are translucent then add the garlic and continue cooking until they are soft. Add the Marjoram to the pan and then add the tomato paste and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Add the water and pepper, stir the sauce and continue to cook for a approximately 5 minutes. Ensure that the sauce is thick in consistency as this will enable you to slice the Eggplant Parmigiana. At the bottom of an oven proof dish place some of the tomato sauce, sprinkle some grated cheese and then add the sliced eggplant. Repeat this until you have finished layering. On the top layer place some more tomato sauce and sprinkle generously with the remaining cheese. Pre heat the oven at 180° and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. A lovely golden cheese crust should form on the top. Allow to cool a little before serving or serve at room temperature. Cook’s Tips
I do not add extra salt to the dish as the eggplants are salted before cooking. However, I add pepper to the sauce. Whilst the dish is baking in the oven, do check it to ensure it doesn’t brown too quickly on top. I always make this dish a day or two days ahead. Once baked allow it to cool down and then refrigerate until you are ready to serve. This allows all the wonderful flavours to infuse. I like to serve it at room temperature in summer. Take the Parmigiana out of the fridge and allow to stand for approximately 1 hour or a little longer before serving. In winter I warm it up in the oven then allow to stand for 15 minutes slice and serve. This dish goes very well with crusty Italian bread.