Parmigiana, short for Parmigiana di melanzane, is an Italian dish similar in someways to lasagne, but instead of pasta sheets, eggplant (aubergine) is used instead to form the layers. However since the original dish, people have used breaded veal or chicken cutlets instead. Confusingly the name Parmigiana di melanzane does not relate to the city of Parma, but it is from the South of Italy instead. In Sicily the word “parmigiana”, is used to describe the wooden laths in window shutters, which could in turn refer to the layering of the eggplant in the dish.
Normally the eggplant in Eggplant Parmesan is fried, but this baked version is equally as tasty, if not healthier. Also, I use Japannese Panko breadcrumbs, rather than Italian breadcrumbs, since I usually have them in the cupboard.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 cups (475ml) Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp of dried basil
- 2 cups (475ml) tomato sauce (Cecilia and Eric’s amazing Pizza sauce)
- 8oz (235g) of mozzarella cheese, shredded, grated
- 0.25 cup (60ml) Parmesan cheese, grated
- Dash of paprika
Mix together the breadcrumbs and the dried basil. Mix together the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Dredge the eggplant slices in egg and then in the breadcrumbs. Lay the breaded slices of eggplant onto a baking sheet and cook for approx. 5mins on each side in a 350F (175C) oven. Cover the bottom of a baking dish in about a third of the tomato sauce. Cover the sauce with a third of the cooked eggplant slices and then sprinkle on a third of the cheese. Repeat with two other layers and sprinkle on a little paprika on top to help with the browning of the cheese. Bake for about 35 to 40mins in a 350F (175C) oven until the cheese has become golden brown.
Eggplant parmesan can be eaten hot, but it is perfectly good cold, as are most cheese dishes. I served it with salad and some of Bill’s Italian hot sausages.