January 23, 2012

melanzane alla parmiagana

It's so good, I've written about it before.  It's arguably the best use of an aubergine I have ever come across and I've lost count of the times I've made and enjoyed this and every time, it gets that bit better.  It's straightforward, but grilling the aubergine takes time and patience and getting this bit right, I think, makes for a great dish rather than an ok one.  This is the recipe, except these are the changes:

1.  I use about 4-6 large aubergines, rather than 3.  I don't think 3 is enough to make a good, dense, aubergine rich dish, and like a good lasagne, I think you want lots of layers.  If you end up with a few too many slices of aubergine, eat them.

2.  I grill the aubergine long and slow so it's meltingly soft and golden.  I do it on the lowest setting on our barbecue, which means I can grill approximately 5 large aubergines, sliced about 1cm thick all in one go.  It's quicker, cleaner and I quite like standing at the barbecue slowly and methodically turning the aubergine slices until they are cooked to perfection (make sure they are as soft as can be).  I tend to do this the day before I assemble the dish, to split the work up a bit, but it's the only bit that's any work.

3.  The tomato sauce - Rather than one clove of garlic, I use three, and rather than one large onion, I'll use 1.5 or even two, very finely chopped and cooked slowly until soft and brown.  Cook the tomato sauce on a low heat for about 30 mins, or until you see a film of olive oil on top of the sauce which means (to me) that it's ready and your sauce will be very sweet and intense.  I like to be generous with the red wine vinegar and seasoning before blending the sauce until it's smooth.  Leftover sauce, if there is any, is great tossed through pasta with a bit of parmesan the next night (for the kids in particular for a quick mid week meal).

That's about it.  I top the assembled dish of layers of the aubergine, sauce and lots of parmesan with fresh  breadcrumbs, fresh oregano, torn up mozzarella and I bake it for about 40 mins.  Then, we eat it with warmed, crusty bread, cold butter and red wine. What we don't eat ends up in the freezer for the ultimate easy deluxe mid week dinner.

1 comment:

ali said...

This looks/sounds divine. Love the idea of grilling the eggplant. Will try this for sure this summer. Thanks so much!

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