Eggplant Alla Parmigiana

(Melanzane Alla Parmigiana)

 

  • 4 medium eggplant (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup finely minced yellow onions
  • 1 thick slice mortadella (2 ounces), finely minced
  • 1 thick slice prosciutto (2 ounces), finely minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste, diluted in 4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano (4 to 6 ounces)

Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange in single layer in large dish or on cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, tossing slices to salt evenly. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour. Place on paper towels and pat dry.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Spread flour on sheet of aluminum foil. When oil is nice and hot, lightly dredge a few slices of eggplant with flour, turning to coat both sides, and lower them into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes, then drain on paper towels. Pat dry.

Wipe skillet clean and heat butter with 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until lightly golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Add mortadella and prosciutto; heat and stir for 1 or 2 minutes. Then add diluted tomato paste and season lightly with salt. Bring sauce to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered. Stir from time to time until the sauce has a medium-thick consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish with butter.

Arrange one-third of eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, in dish. Spoon one-third of sauce over and sprinkle with one-third of the Parmigiano. Repeat for two more layers each of eggplant, sauce, and cheese. Dot top with butter. Place on middle rack of oven and bake until cheese is melted and golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove and let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8

Adapted from Biba's Taste of Italy. 2001. By Biba Caggiano, William Morrow Publishing