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Parmigiana di Melanzane (Sicilian-style Eggplant Parm)

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    Parmigiana di Melanzane (Sicilian-style Eggplant Parm)

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    Ingredients
    • 3 lbs globe-style eggplants (about 3 medium or 2 large)
    • 1 recipe basic marinara sauce (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano of Pecorino Romano cheese, or to taste
    • 1/2 cup Italian-style drained bread crumbs
    • Kosher salt for salting and pressing the eggplant
    • Extra virgin olive oil for frying
    Directions
    1. Peel the eggplants and slice crosswise into about ¼-½" thick rounds.
    2. Arrange the slices in a single layer and salt liberally on both sides with kosher salt. Stack the slices in a colander placed over a large bowl and place a heavy pot filled with water on top and press down. Let stand on the counter at room temperature for 60-90 minutes. Discard the brown liquid which accumulates in the bowl below the eggplant.
    3. Lightly rinse the slices under running water, place on a sheet pan lined with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. You may need additional layers. Cover the top layer with additional paper towels or kitchen towel and press firmly over all the slices to remove any excess water.
    4. Place about ½" of EVOO in a large, deep-sided saute pan and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Put a single layer of eggplant in the pan, don't crowd it, and fry, turning as needed until they are lightly golden brown on both sides. Adjust the heat to avoid over-Bbowning or burning. Slices should be soft, not hard or crisp. Remove to a sheet pan covered with paper towels to drain. Repeat until all the slices have been fried.
    5. Use a 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish, small casserole or pyrex pie plate (I use the pie plate.) Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish. Lightly sprinkle with grated cheese. Place an even single layer of eggplant on to of the sauce. Aim for full coverage without overlapping. Soon a small amount of sauce on top of the slices and, using the back of a large doin, spread it evenly into a thin layer covering the regularly layer. Sprinkle a moderate amount of grated cheese evenly over the sauce. Spend a light to moderate layer of bread crumbs over the whole thing.*
    6. Repeat 2 or 3 times for a total of 3 or 4 layers of eggplant, sauce, cheese and crumbs. The last layer can come right to the top of the dish, but shouldn't stick up over the rim. You might have a few slices of eggplant left over, that's ok. Cover the top layer with a heavier amount of crumbs so that the sauce is mostly covered up by crumbs. Optionally you can add a final light sprinkle of grated cheese on top.
    7. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and place in a pre-heated 375° oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil. The dish should be hot and bubbling up a little bit around the sides. Put back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes uncovered, until the top is nicely browned.
    8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 15-30 minutes. Serve hot as a side dish. The eggplant can also be allowed to cook completely to room temperature and served as a light lunch or snack/hors d'oeuvre spread onto crostini toasts.
    *NOTE - You should have some sauce left when you are finished. I had about a cup left over.

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    Basic Marinara Sauce
    • 1 28 oz can of decent crushed tomatoes
    • 7 medium cloves of garlic cut into slivers
    • ¼ cup EVOO
    • ½ tsp dried oregano leaves
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 small pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
    • 1-2 stems of fresh basil left whole.
    Directions
    1. Put olive oil into a wide saute pan (not a deep pot!) and heat over medium high heat. When hot, add the slivered garlic. Once it starts to sizzle, cook for 30 more seconds.
    2. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper, if using. Stir and bring to a lowe boil. Last three basil stems with leaves attached on top and allow to wilt a bit before pushing it down into the sauce. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15- 20 minutes until slightly reduced and the oil in top is an orange color.
    3. Remove from the heat. Fish out the basil and discard. Taste, and add more salt 1 pinch at a time if needed to taste.
    Last edited by Dewesq55; September 19, 2021, 02:46 PM. Reason: Added pictures and a Note.

    #2
    As an alternative to the recipe shared above, we've made this one-skillet eggplant marinara and it's fantastic.
    https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/...ummer-marinara

    Comment


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm not entirely sure why you would post a link to a magazine recipe for a different dish in my recipe thread. Oh, well.

    • WillTravelForFood
      WillTravelForFood commented
      Editing a comment
      you're right, bad placement of something I thought was similarly delicious. Apologies.

    #3
    Have not had eggplant in 40+ years. The last time I even saw an egg plant was butchering a chicken. That is where they come from right?

    Comment


    • Jerod Broussard
      Jerod Broussard commented
      Editing a comment
      Close. Love me some fried eggplant. Better than a faceplant.

    #4
    Just this year I'm sidling up to eggplant. I hated it as a kid when my Mom would bread and fry it for Friday night (meatless) dinner. All week I used to punch the eggplants every time I opened the fridge. When Friday night came around, my Mom would slice into an eggplant and say, "Oh my, we can't eat this, it's all bruised." Then she'd make pancakes for us instead. Score.

    But now that I'm a responsible grownup, I'm eyeballing eggplant recipes and have made a couple of them. It's the mushy consistency of eggplant that I find unappealing.

    This recipe sounds delicious, David ( Dewesq55 ). The eggplant looks silky, not mushy in your SUWYC post. You should post that photo here. It's a winner.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write up this recipe.

    Kathryn

    Comment


    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      fzxdoc - I hated eggplant my whole life until I had this, which I had to be verbally bludgeoned into trying the first time. The recipe came from my ex- SIL's mother in law. She was Finnish, but her husband was first gen. It. American so she learned to cook all kinds of Ital. food. The authentic recipes don't seem to have bread crumbs throughout. Some have none, others only on top, but this was her recipe. I still don't like eggplant except for this and Sichuan eggplant.

      David

    • Dewesq55
      Dewesq55 commented
      Editing a comment
      @fzcdoc - Kathryn, the texture is what I would call "creamy." Supposedly the salting and pressing of the eggplant is essential to achieve this texture when frying it. As I mentioned, when this has cooled to room temp, you can actually spread it on toast with a butter knife (which is awesome!)

    #5
    Thanks so much for this. Leaving the basil intact and then fishing it out is a very interesting move. I have to try this recipe soon.

    Comment


      #6
      Sounds Great David! I just might need to give this a try while there's Eggplant around from someone's garden. Yours on SUWYC thread looked delicious.

      Comment


        #7
        Originally posted by fzxdoc View Post
        Just this year I'm sidling up to eggplant. I hated it as a kid when my Mom would bread and fry it for Friday night (meatless) dinner. All week I used to punch the eggplants every time I opened the fridge. When Friday night came around, my Mom would slice into an eggplant and say, "Oh my, we can't eat this, it's all bruised." Then she'd make pancakes for us instead. Score.
        🤣🤣🤣

        Comment


          #8
          Originally posted by Dewesq55 View Post
          fzxdoc - I hated eggplant my whole life until I had this, which I had to be verbally bludgeoned into trying the first time. The recipe came from my ex- SIL's mother in law. She was Finnish, but her husband was first gen. It. American so she learned to cook all kinds of Ital. food. The authentic recipes don't seem to have bread crumbs throughout. Some have none, others only on top, but this was her recipe. I still don't like eggplant except for this and Sichuan eggplant.

          David
          Sounds like you're sidling up to eggplant as well, David Dewesq55

          I figure it only takes a couple of dishes to progress from eggplant aversion>>eggplant antipathy>>liking selected eggplant dishes.

          The dish that did it for me was this totally different take on Eggplant Parm. Here's a link to the recipe. The only thing I do different is to top it with another dollop of marinara sauce when serving and sprinkle chopped basil on top.

          I like the crisp-tender consistency of the eggplant in it. It's a huge hit in our family.

          I take it to a 99yo Italian American friend in a local nursing home who never gets good Italian flavors in his meals there. He's always delighted to get this non-mushy version of Eggplant Parm.

          Here's a video--when you put the eggplant into the hot tray pan, you can hear the sizzle:



          Kathryn
          Last edited by fzxdoc; September 20, 2021, 06:02 AM.

          Comment


            #9
            Love eggplant, but I'm the only one here who does

            Comment


            • efincoop
              efincoop commented
              Editing a comment
              Nope, we are a fan at house!

            #10
            My wife loves it, I don't mind it, show it to the kids and there's calls to children's aid about cruel living conditions..

            Comment


              #11
              Very nice! We also love eggplant. For a slightly lighter take, and a bit of smoke flavor, we like to grill the eggplant slices instead of frying, and then assemble with the marinara, cheese, bread crumbs, etc.

              Comment


              • Dewesq55
                Dewesq55 commented
                Editing a comment
                I have tried it broiled instead of fried and I didn't like it.

              #12
              Looks delicious Dewesq55 , was hoping you'd post the recipe. Just sent to Paprika for future reference. Thanks !!

              Comment


                #13
                Holy cow, David! This recipe is so good and your write-up was so clear and easy to follow.

                The marinara alone is worth making for a lot of other dishes. My wife is still buying our groceries and she would up getting a can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, and I think that added a lot of instant flavor. I barely had a saute pan large enough to hold it all, but it worked out. I've never made a sauce in one. I used Italian seasoning instead of straight oregano and went with Fltatiron Four Pepper Blend for the flakes.

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                Being cheap at heart, I fried the eggplant in peanut oil instead of EVOO, but it turned out fine. I didn't have any sauce left over after layering except for a few dribbles I added over the bread crumbs for a little color. At the end I went with a minute or two under the broiler to try to toast the bread crumbs a bit more.

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                Plated pic going up next on SUWYC.

                Comment


                • Dewesq55
                  Dewesq55 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Looks really good, Jim. Back in the day, the Finnish woman's kids used to swear that the key to the whole dish was the EVOO, so I've never used anything else. I'm glad to hear that peanut oil works fine. Although, of late, it seems to me that peanut oil is pretty pricey as well. The broiler seems to have been a fine idea. I just usually keep it in the hot oven a few minutes longer if it needs to brown a bit more. I'm really glad you liked it.

                • Dewesq55
                  Dewesq55 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The marinara is adapted from a Lidia Bastianich recipe published in the NY Times a while back. It's my "go to" all purpose tomato sauce and pasta sauce base.
                  Last edited by Dewesq55; September 20, 2021, 07:12 PM.

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