Parmigiana di Melanzane, Eggplant Parmigiana. It’s one dish that needs little or no introduction. Known the world over, to most it is a hardy winter dish. Pure comfort food you wouldn’t dream of serving in the dog days of summer.
But here in Napoli, when the key ingredients – melanzane, the eggplant, tomatoes, and basil are at their freshest, Parmigiana di Melanzane is a favorite summertime fare.
Decidedly lighter than its North American, European and Northern Italian counterparts, Parmigiana di Melanzane Napoletana uses no flour, eggs or breadcrumbs. Lightly fried in olive oil, the flavor of the melanzane speaks for itself. Made with less mozzarella, less Parmigiano and served at room temperature, this hardy comfort food becomes a light summer treat. Serve it as a side dish or the main event, or use it as a topping on pizza to make one of my all time favorite pies, Pizza Parmigiana.
3 Kilos of Eggplant
Fresh Tomato Sauce with Basil or Ragù
250 Grams of Mozzarella (we used Fior di Latte – Mozzarella made from cow’s milk)
200 Grams of Grated Parmigiana
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Wash the eggplant
Cut unpeeled eggplant into very thin slices
In a deep/wide frying pan, heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, about 1 inch, until a slice of eggplant sizzles immediately when you put it into the oil
Lightly fry the eggplant in batches until soft and lightly brown
Add a light coating of sauce and a bit of salt
Top with mozzarella and add another light coating of sauce
Repeat layers and top with Parmigiano
Bake at 220° C for 30 minutes
Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 30 minutes to firm up
Top with a bit of fresh basil
Serve at room temperature