Aubergine Parmigiana

Aubergine Parmigiana is classic Italian dish, and like all such things, deceptively simple, being no more than fried aubergine baked with tomato sauce and cheese. It probably originated in Sicily, as the island was once under Muslim control and it was the Arabs who introduced the aubergine, but Naples also claims it for its own with a degree of probability. Regardless of who invented it, it makes an excellent brunch or a side dish at dinner, or a vegetarian evening meal combined with a nice fresh salad. Or even for breakfast, but I have never tried it that way.

 

Ingredients.

1 good sized aubergines or 2 small ones.

½ cup olive oil.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced.

1 400g can crushed tomatoes.

¼ cup tomato paste.

Salt and pepper to taste

1 ½ cups Mozzarella cheese, grated.

½ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated.

1 cup basil leaves, chopped.

 

Preparation.

Slice the aubergine[s] lengthways into thumb-thick slices and soak them in salty water for 30 minutes. Pat them dry then fry the aubergine slices in half the olive oil until golden. Place them in a colander to drain. Add the rest of the oil to the pan and sauté the garlic until beginning to turn golden. Add the tomato, tomato paste, the basil and the salt to taste. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so to thicken. Remove from the heat and reserve. Mix the cheese together in a bowl and set aside. Chop the basil and set aside.

 

Method.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Smear a third of the sauce on the base of an ovenproof dish. Add a layer of fried aubergine, the second third of the sauce, top with half the cheeses and sprinkle with ¾ of the basil. Add a second layer of aubergine, and top off with the remaining tomato sauce and cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with the remaining basil, allow to cool a little and serve warm.

 

Serve with: A crisp green salad.

 

Serves: 2.

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