Eggplant Parmigiana

No matter how steaming hot summer days can get, nothing honors the queen of summer, eggplant, like a homemade tray of Melanzane alla Parmigiana. YES, we do fry in real extra virgin olive oil and YES, we do make our tomato sauce with San Marzano tomatoes!

Ingredients

SERVES: 6-8 people
TIME: 3 hours

Eggplant (1.3 kg/3 lbs), cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
San Marzano tomatoes (800 g/28 oz)
Mozzarella or Scamorza cheese (500 g/1.1 lbs), diced
Vacche Rosse Cheese (500 g/3.5 oz), grated
Garlic (one clove)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (500 ml/2 cups)
Coarse Sea Salt
Basil

Preparation

  1. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with a little coarse sea salt and arrange them in layers inside a colander for about 1 hour. Quickly rinse the eggplants and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Lightly crush the garlic and sauté it in a saucepan with EVOO for about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, break them up with a wooden spoon, adjust with sea salt, and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
  3. In a large cast iron skillet or pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant slices for 2-3 minutes, remove from the oil and place on a tray lined with paper towels, separating each layer of fried eggplant with more paper towels. Let them cool down completely.
  4. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  5. In a baking pan (about 8×10 inches), pour a thin layer of tomato sauce, arrange a layer of eggplant slices, add diced cheese, sprinkle Vacche Rosse Cheese, and top with a few basil leaves. Continue layering tomato sauce, eggplant, cheese, and basil to fill the baking dish. Finish by coating the last layer with plenty of grated Vacche Rosse Cheese.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the grated cheese has broiled to form a thin crust.
  7. Let it rest for about 10 minutes and serve.