OMG... I made it with Elena yesterday during our IG Live and I had to compliment myself ahahaha. I mean I cooked this dish before but it has never been as good. Maybe Knoxville's eggplants :-) There are so many versions of this recipe. Sicily and Campania compete for the ownership of this dish but is very common to eat Parmigiana also in Puglia. And not only regions but also each family has its own version: some add ham or Mortadella, some boiled eggs, some fry the eggplants, some grill them, I even met people that put fried potatoes into the layers!
We prepared our version and trust me, you won't be disappointed!
2 SERVINGS (for us, 4 for normal eaters)
2 Italian eggplants (the dark purple ones)
800g/28oz tomato sauce (or diced/whole peeled tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh mozzarella for pizza (8 oz)
Parmigiano Reggiano 10 spoons
1 liter of Vegetable oil (I use Peanut that doesn't make the house smell like fried food)
Salt (coarse and fine)
Extra virgin olive oil 2 spoons
TIP: about an hour before starting it is very important to make the eggplants release their water before cooking them. I prefer to remove most of the skin, slice them about half cm thick (1/4in), place them into a colander and put some coarse salt on each layer of eggplants. Put the colander into the sink and cover with a weight (I used a bowl full of water.
Start with your sauce: put Olive oil into a pan with garlic on medium heat, when you can smell the garlic, pour your sauce (I used diced tomatoes and at the end put them into a mixer), add salt (not much as the eggplant will be quite tasty already) and basil, cook it for about 20'
Turn your oven on, 180C/355F
After one hour rinse the eggplants and dry them very well
Put about 2cm of vegetable oil (1inch) into a large pan on medium high heat. When the oil is ready start frying the eggplants. Once they start to brown transfer them to a plate with paper towels to release the extra oil
Layers: I used a pan 20cm*20cm (8in). Start with a couple of spoons of sauce then place eggplants, they can slightly overlap. Continue adding the mozzarella, Parmigiano, fresh basil.Do 2 more layers like that.
On the last layer spoon some of the egg previously mixed with a fork. This was a tip from a Sicilian friend, it helps to create a very thin, crunchy crust. Finish with Parmigiano and basil.
Bake for 30', broil for 3' at the end
I highly recommend that you let it rest approx 3 hours before serving. Maybe this made a big difference because I usually have it straight away. This time I cooked it at lunch time and had it for dinner. Hard to be patient when you smell it though....