Eggplant parmigiana recipe (melanzane alla parmigiana)
- Cuisine: Italian
It is one of Italy’s most famous dishes, yet its origins remain in dispute, and continue to cause debate between northeners and southerners. The name of this cheesy eggplant bake infers that it is cooked "Parma-style" and therefore hails from the Emilia-Romagna region in the north. ‘Alla parmigiana’ also refers to Parma’s most famous cheese, parmesan, which is often included in the dish. However, the recipe is just as often dubbed a southern creation due to its abundant use of eggplant. Cookbook authors Mary Taylor Simeti and the late Vincent Schiavelli suggest the name actually stems from the Sicilian word palmigiana, which means "louvred shutters", thought to resemble the layered eggplant slices. You can serve this dish in small slices as a side, or as a vegetarian main with a salad.
Ingredients1.5kg (about 4) eggplants, cut widthwise into 1.5cm-thick slices
75g (½ cup) plain flour
160ml (⅔ cup) olive oil
300g fresh pecorino*, grated
100g aged pecorino*, grated
¼ cup basil leaves, plus extra, to serve
Crusty bread, prosciutto, and burrata (mozzarella filled with cream) with tomatoes and rocket, to serve
PreparationToss eggplant with 1 tbs salt and stand for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry with paper towel.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Dredge one-quarter of the eggplant in flour and shake off excess. Heat 2 tbs oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook eggplant for 3 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel. Repeat with remaining eggplant, flour and oil.
Place one-third of the eggplant in the base of a greased, deep 24cm round baking dish. Top with one-third of the passata, half the basil, and one third of the combined cheeses. Add half the remaining eggplant, half the remaining passata, remaining basil and half the remaining cheese. Finish with remaining eggplant, passata and cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and bubbly, draining any excess liquid during cooking if necessary. Scatter with extra basil and serve with crusty bread, prosciutto and burrata with tomatoes and rocket.
*Fresh pecorino, from delis, is mild in flavour, while aged pecorino, from supermarkets and delis, is saltier, firmer and darker in colour.
Drink 2009 Zonin Nero d’Avola Merlot, Sicily, Italy ($8)
Photography by Chris Chen.
As seen in Feast magazine, issue 15, pg61.
If you enjoyed this Eggplant parmigiana recipe (melanzane alla parmigiana) then browse more Italian recipes, vegetarian recipes, prepare ingredients in advance recipes and our most popular hainanese chicken rice recipe.
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