eggplant parmesan

Entertaining with Italian Cuisine: Aubergine/Eggplant Parmesan

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Healthy Italian decadence

It seems that I’ve been experiencing quite a few firsts recently, and that’s especially true with starting a food blog. Dining Mosaic has truly become my baby. One of the perks is that I get to try new things, and last week I decided to do just that. I’ve never had aubergine parmesan before, or as it is called in America, eggplant parmesan. So what did I decide to do? Make it myself!

Here’s what I do know:

  • Aubergine and eggplant are the same thing
  • The dish is absolutely delicious
  • You should go to Waitrose (or the grocery store of your choice) and buy aubergine (eggplant). And the other ingredients for this dish. Right. Now.
  • Go! You’ll thank me later. 🙂

My aubergine journey

So after experimenting for four or five hours about the best method of cooking this delicious dish (so you don’t have to keep searching and searching for the absolute best way to make this masterpiece yourself), I finally found out the secrets, deconstructed and reconstructed the dish, and ended up with this beauty:

best eggplant parmesan, dining mosaic, diningmosaic.com

Look at that beautiful texture. Its lovely colourful appearance. The herbs, the tomato, the glory!

You too can have this restaurant quality dish in your home! Let me tell you how. And why. (Have you left to get the ingredients yet?! Send your husband/boyfriend/partner right now!)

Experimentation and finding the best recipe and method

My version of Eggplant Parmesan (aubergine to us British subjects) is an incredibly delicate and unheavy eggplant parm that is especially delicious served in any way – whether it’s at a dinner party with friends as a main (with a side of pasta!) or even as a sandwich the next day. Stop judging me, it was that good.

Use the olive oil. Trust me. You will thank me later.

Two options presented to me (of which I tried both) during the cooking process were the selection of olive oil or vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) in which the eggplant (aubergine) will be fried. Let me settle that debate for your with now. Use the olive oil. Trust me. You will thank me later.

Let’s get to the recipe and method!

Eggplant Parmesan, aubergine, parmigiana
Look. At. This. Eggplant. Parm.

Eggplant alla Parmigiana

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 100g (4oz) Flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp herbs de provence (typically consists of marjoram, thyme, oregano, and rosemary)
  • Sprigs of parsley
  • Generous grind of of black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tbsp white pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced razor thin
  • 2 large eggplants/aubergines that have been peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 large eggs (beaten, for the egg wash)
  • 6 tbsp (4 fl oz) olive oil
  • 500ml (18 fl oz) passata/tomato sauce or marinara
  • 100g (4oz) grated (or shredded) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Ready to get started? Good!

Eggplant Aubergine Parmesan, Dining Mosaic

Prepare the egg wash in a large bowl. Whisk the egg lightly so that the yolk is blended. (Confession: I added an -ey to the word “whisk” as I typed it just now… *cough* Freudian slip, perhaps?)

Take a casserole pan or something of the sort, line it with foil (trust me, it does wonders for the clean up afterwards), and pour a bit of the passata (tomato puree to you Americans) or tomato sauce or marinara (or whatever tomato-based sauce you’re using, you get the hint) into the pan to line it with flavoursome goodness (flavorsome to you Americans. {Just kidding!})

Take your eggplant/aubergine and adore its colourful beauty. Gaze upon its plump deliciousness and ponder the origins of the masterpiece which you are about to create.

Slice it up! Thinly, now. Thinnnnnnly. You don’t want it too thick. Trap the flavour in, so it has nowhere to go.

Dip each slice in the flour…

…and then dip it in the egg wash!

Fry ’em up!

Once the aubergine/eggplant is nice and crispy on both sides (don’t let the olive oil scare you, it will bake quite nicely and keep the consistently perfectly), place them in a single layer into the pan.

Sprinkle the parsley, herbs de provence, paprika, parmesan cheese, garlic, white pepper, and salt over the layer of aubergine. Don’t use it all on one layer, we have more layering to do!

Add another layer of eggplant, another layer of cheese, and then the spices, and finally another layer of sauce. Repeat this process until you have layered the aubergine completely. Finish off with lots of cheese!

Cover the pan very tightly with aluminium foil. Place your pan filled with goodness into the oven (at 375 degrees F or gas mark 5 or 190 degrees celsius) for 45 minutes. Remove the pan and let it sit, still covered with the foil, for about 15 minutes.

And then uncover your creation.

Doesn’t it look marvellous! (I am sure yours looks better!)

Take a moment to ponder its cheesy deliciousness. And you may want to tell everyone in your home that no, the heavens have not been throwing their aroma around, it’s just your creation in the kitchen.

Get a little artistic and make it look nice.

Feast!

Reassure everyone around you that you are merely mortal and what they are eating did in fact come from your kitchen and wasn’t sent by air mail from Rome.

And that’s it! The printout of the recipe is below. Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks for visiting Dining Mosaic.

Baked Herbed Eggplant Parmesan

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients

  • 100g (4oz) Flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp herbs de provence (typically consists of marjoram, thyme, oregano, and rosemary)
  • Sprigs of parsley
  • Generous grind of of black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tbsp white pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced razor thin
  • 2 large eggplants/aubergines that have been peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 large eggs (beaten, for the egg wash) 
  • 6 tbsp (4 fl oz) olive oil
  • 500ml (18 fl oz) passata/tomato sauce or marinara
  • 100g (4oz) grated (or shredded) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Instructions

  1. Peel and thinly slice your aubergine (eggplant)
  2. Line a casserole dish with foil
  3. Preheat the oil
  4. Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour and the egg wash
  5. Fry each slice on both sides until golden brown
  6. Pour some passata/tomato sauce into the pan to coat the foil
  7. Form layers with the fried slices of eggplant
  8. Sprinkle cheese and herbs and then more tomato sauce, forming each layer until all aubergine is used
  9. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese and parsley as a final layer
  10. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake at gas mark 5/375F/190C for 45 minutes
  11. Remove from oven, leave foil on, let rest for 15 minutes
  12. Enjoy!
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