The key to an epic eggplant parmigiana is that thing that marries it all together - the cheese! The sauce has to be nice and rich and with only a few ingredients it's comfort food 101.
Home cook Paolo pays homage to his Sicilian grandmother by cooking up her parmigiana and combining fried eggplants with grated mozzarella, pecorino and Parmesan. Paolo's secret ingredient? Smoked leg ham slices. The Chefs' Line
- 1 egg
- 2 large eggplants
- 300 ml vegetable oil, for shallow frying
- 1 fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
- 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or Padano, grated
- 100 g Provolone piccante cheese, grated
- 50 g Pecorino Auricchio, grated
- 100 g leg ham (not smoked)
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- 100 ml olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 700 g tomato passata
- 1 small bunch basil, leaves picked
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Place the egg in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until hard-boiled. Refresh the egg in cold water, then peel and coarsely chop.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until starting to brown. Increase the heat to high, then add the tomato passata, a few basil leaves and the sugar. Season to taste, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Peel the eggplants, reserve the skin and cut the eggplant into 1 cm thick rounds.
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan and bring to 180˚C. Fry the eggplants for 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on a tray lined with paper towel. Deep-fry the reserved eggplant skins until golden and crisp. Drain on the tray with the eggplant.
Once the sauce is ready, you are ready to assemble the dish. Spoon a layer of sauce into a small ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a layer of each of the cheeses, the ham, egg and a few basil leaves. Top with another layer of eggplant and some of the breadcrumbs, then repeat the layers until the dish is full. Finish with some sauce and a sprinkling of Parmigiano and Auricchio. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve warm, scattered with the fried eggplant peel and basil leaves.
This recipe is from Series 2 of The Chefs' Line airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Episodes will be available after broadcast via SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #TheChefsLine on Instagram @sbsfood, Facebook @SBSFood and Twitter @SBS_Food. Check out sbs.com.au/thechefsline for episode guides, cuisine lowdowns, recipes and more!