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Eggplant parmigiana

There's a little labour involved in frying the eggplant slices before layering them, but the result is worth it.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking plus draining
  • Serves 8
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The whole dish can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven at the last minute.

Ingredients

  • 5 eggplant (1.8kg), sliced lengthways 6mm thick
  • For shallow frying: olive oil
  • For dusting: seasoned plain flour
  • 200 gm finely grated parmesan, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 cups basil leaves, stalks reserved for sugo, plus extra leaves to serve (loosely packed)
  • To serve: bitter leaf salad
Sugo
  • 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 600 gm vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 400 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano

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.

Notes

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

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  • Author: Lisa Featherby