JULIA’S Eggplant Parmigiana (serves 6-8)
1.2kg eggplants, siced into 4mm thick rounds
Oil for frying
100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
400g buffalo mozzarella or fior di latte, thinly sliced
Large handful of basil leaves plus extra to serve
2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A few basil leaves and their stalks
For the sauce, gently warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add in the garlic and cook until just softened but not coloured. Add in the passata, basil and a good pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium and cook until slightly thickened (8-10 minutes). Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Fill a deep wide fry pan with 1-1.5cm of olive oil and place on a medium-high heat. Have a tray with plenty of absorbent paper at the ready. When the oil is hot (a slice of eggplant should sizzle immediately), fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden on both sides and drain well on the absorbent paper.
Have all of your ingredients and lasagne or baking dish at the ready – now it’s a matter of layering everything up. I use a 25 x 28 x 7cm but most sizes will work. Slightly smaller and the finished dish will be taller, larger and it will have less layers.
Spoon a thin layer of sauce on the base of your dish. Then arrange a layer of the fried eggplant, slightly overlapping each other, followed by another layer of sauce, some basil leaves, mozzarella slices and a good scattering of the parmesan. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients, finishing with a layer of sauce and then a scattering of parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until visibly bubbling. Allow to cool for at least two hours, even longer is ideal. If you cut the parmigiana whilst hot, just like with lasagne, it will be incredibly sloppy. Just before serving, top with extra basil leaves and serve with a salad and crusty bread.
What else I’m cooking with…
New season zucchini cooked with olive oil, garlic, mint and salt until soft. Stirred through pasta or eaten on grilled bread. Also their flowers, stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, battered and fried.
What I’m eating…
If you want your dose of eggplant parmigiana in a sandwich, I would highly recommend getting it at Romans Original in Footscray. Their meatball sandwich is also top! In fact, everything is great and generally is just a very good vibe.
You can follow along with Julia on Instagram and find more fab recipes via her website!