Mains

Eggplant parmigiana

There's a little labour involved in frying the eggplant slices before layering them, but the result is worth it.
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There’s lots to love about eggplant parmigiana, from the layers of soft baked eggplant, sweet-savoury sugo and bubbly parmesan on top. We especially love the fact the whole dish can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven at the last minute.

Ingredients

Sugo

Method

Main

1.

Place eggplant in a large bowl, add 2 tsp fine sea salt, toss to coat and set aside for liquid to drain (20 minutes).

2.

For sugo, heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add onion and stir occasionally until starting to caramelise (3-5 minutes), then add garlic and stir until caramelised (1-2 minutes). Add fresh and canned tomato, oregano and reserved basil stalks, bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally until tender and thick (30-40 minutes). Remove stalks (discard), transfer to a blender, season to taste and blend until smooth.

3.

Heat olive oil to 3mm deep in a frying pan, dust eggplant slices with seasoned flour, shake off excess, then fry in batches, adding more oil as necessary, until golden (2-4 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper.

4.

Preheat oven to 180C. Spoon a little sugo into a 15cm x 25cm baking dish, top with a layer of eggplant, scatter with parmesan and basil, then repeat until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of sugo. Scatter with extra parmesan, bake until golden and bubbling (20-30 minutes), scatter with extra basil and serve with a bitter leaf salad.

Drink Suggestion: Deeply fruity red barbera. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

Notes

What do you serve with eggplant parmigiana?

As a main meal, we have suggested serving it with a bitter leaf salad to help balance the richness and sweetness of the tomato. If you want some inspiration, consider this bitter green salad with apple and walnut or this simple green salad with vinaigrette. And if you want something bolder, you could try this insalata of bitter leaves, lentils, onion and pecorino.

Do they eat eggplant parmigiana in Italy?

Eggplant parmigiana is a traditional Italian dish that’s so popular there are disputes about exactly where it originated. Naples, Sicily and Parma all claim to be the source of this delicious dish, and it’s been around for centuries, so the mystery is likely to remain. But the good news is that the popularity of eggplant parmigiana in Italy means you’ll find it on menus all over the country. So if you’re planning a trip, that’s definitely one way to enjoy this dish without any cooking or cleaning up.

Do you need to salt eggplant?

Salting eggplant helps remove excess moisture and adds flavour, so it is typically part of traditional eggplant parmigiana recipes like this one. It can also help remove bitterness from the eggplant, and some people say it helps with digestion.

Want to make the most of eggplant season? Check out our collection of the best eggplant recipes (including this one).

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