Maybe it’s because I am getting older ( 😉 ), but recently I found myself thinking about long time ago memories, and that inspired this post was the one about my childhood when, during our traditional summer vacation, my family and I used to go to the middle Italy in a place where to get to the beach you had to walk 25 minutes through the wild nature, and you could admire the ruins of some Roman baths. Since it took so much to get there, we usually brought some clothes to build a tent (the sun was so hot!) and food and drinks for the entire day. Our favorite snack my mom made for us were sandwiches filled with “vegetables frittata” or those filled with “eggplant parmigiana“. That wonderful beach still exist, is called Torre Astura, and is situated about one hour and a half by car from Rome. Sorry for the digression, but if it ever happen to you to be around there, you should definitely visit that idyllic place! Now let’s go back to my recipe! The “eggplant parmigiana” or simply “parmigiana“, is a typical Italian dish (according to somebody, typical from Sicily region, to other, typical from Campania region) made off fried eggplants baked in the oven with tomato sauce, basil, garlic and pecorino cheese. You would probably point out: FRIED?!?! Yes, traditional Italian Parmigiana requires fried eggplants, but for me and my family I prefer to grill the eggplants instead, and honestly this way not the taste of the dish gets lost, but just the calories and fats!! Plus, if you want your Parmigiana to be even more light, you can decide to use just mozzarella or low fat cheese (any kind of cheese would work if it melts fine), but honestly when I cook for my family or I have guests, I don’t pay too much attention to the amount of cheese I use, and believe me… it’s delicious! This scrumptious dish could be served as a main dish or as a side one. In this recipe I’ll give you the ingredients for an 8’x12′ glass pan, which could be a perfect meal for two people, or a side for about six. I assure you… when you’ll taste Parmigiana, you will feel like on a paradisiac beach under the Italian sun.. just kidding 🙂
INGREDIENTS for a 8’x12′ glass pan
about 2 medium sized eggplant
about 1 can tomato sauce (cooked the Italian way)
mozzarella cheese to taste, cut in cubes
provolone cheese to taste, in slices
singles to taste, in slice
grated parmesan cheese to taste
The part that requires time is to wash the eggplants, cut them into thin slices, dust the slices with sea salt and let them rest for about half an hour. This way they will loose their water. Before to grill the eggplants slices in a pan (no oil or butter needed to grease the pan), just dry the slices with a paper towel, and start grilling the eggplants on both sides.
Arranging the parmigiana is quite alike making lasagna: layers of eggplants, tomatoes sauce and cheese alternated until you finish your ingredients. With the ingredients listed up here, you should obtain about three layers made so: 1) a few tbs. of tomatoes sauce on the bottom of the pan;
3) another few tbs. of tomatoes sauce; 4) all the kind of cheeses you have spread out about evenly, and a generous dust of grated parmesan. And then again: 1) Eggplants, 2) tomatoes sauce, 3) cheeses, 4) parmesan until all the ingredients are gone.
LEARTN IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
Tips: – to have a great “Parmigiana” you need super fresh eggplants: when you buy them make sure they are hard and not ripe and use them right away without letting them in your refrigerator for too many days.. Eggplants ripen very fast, and when they started having too many seeds and change color inside, they may be still edible, but they turn extremely bitter. And so will turn your Parmigiana if you are not careful.
– As I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I usually ate Parmigiana as a cold dish, like it is, or to stuff a panini… YUM! A perfect lunch for a working day or snack for a pick-nick!– I could be wrong but to me it seems eggplants are not a very popular vegetable that people buy in the Midwest: well, after you will try this recipe you will eat more eggplants, and this will be very good for you because they have tons of good properties!
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