Posts Tagged ‘buffalo mozzarella’

Aubergine Parmigiana – yum!

July 11, 2010

Aubergine parmigiana

I think the first time I ever tasted this dish was at the Ionian Plaza in Argostoli, Kefalonia. My sister and I spent a summer there “drawing” – or should I say tanning and having fun. We had absolutely no money so rarely ate out. Once in a blue moon we would splash out and grab a bite to eat in the square and out restaurant of choice was the rather “posh” Ionian Plaza.

The aubergine Parmigiano was so delicious – I still remember how wonderful it was. It was baked in individual portions in a terracotta dish in a wood fired oven. Silky aubergine, rich sweet tomato sauce, gooey stringy mozzarella and salty parmesan.

Dribble!

It is really a very simple dish to make and so tasty. I actually think that it is best to make the day before so that it has time for the flavours to meld.

Excellent for a dinner party as all you need to do is bung it in the oven and serve it with a leafy salad. Simple!!

All you need to do is sit back with a glass of vino and enjoy yourself.

Ingredients: (serves 6 greedy people or 8 sensible normal people)

5 medium aubergines
2 medium red onions
2 kg of ripe fresh tomatoes or 2 bottles of really good passata
6 cloves of garlic
1 small bunch of fresh sweet basil
5 balls of buffalo mozarella
150 grams of parmesan Reggiano
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin olive oil

Method

First things first you need to get the tomato sauce on.

Finely dice the red onion and crush the garlic add to a heavy based pan with a large glug of olive oil and a good pinch of sea salt.

onions and garlic

While the onions and garlic are gently cooking you can peel the tomatoes (if you decide to use fresh tomatoes that is).

Peeling tomatoes

Cut a cross in the bottom of the tomatoes, pop in a heat proof bowl and pour over boiling water.

The tomatoes only need to be in the water for about 30 seconds to a minute. Then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool a little – until they are cool enough to touch. The skins should peel off easily. If not pop back in the boiling water for a little longer.

Remove the cores of the tomatoes, dice and add to the onions and garlic once they are cooked (translucent and sweet – no colour).

Tomatoes added to onions and garlic

Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce to simmer and cook for about 2 hours or until the tomatoes have completely disintegrated and the sauce is “saucy” and thick.

At this point add some finely sliced basil leaves and season with salt and pepper.

While the tomato sauce is cooking you can prepare the aubergine.

Wash and remove the top/stem.

Slice length ways into 3 – 4 mm slices.

Heat frying pan up with a some olive oil (approx 3 tablespoons).

Fry slices of aubergine until golden brown and cooked through. Then drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. You may need to keep adding more oil to the pan as you cook the slices – the aubergine tends to absorb quite a lot of oil however it will give back a lot of it to the pan when it is cooked.

Aubergine slices frying

Frying the aubergine slices will take quite a lot of time, ideally you would use more than one frying pan to speed things along. Also remember aubergine will go brown if you slice it and leave it for a while so do not pre-slice all the aubergine at once. Only slice one at a time.

Okay now you have your sauce ready, the aubergine slices are fried and you are ready to layer up.

Use a ceramic or pyrex baking dish “lasagna dish”. Layer up with tomato sauce, the aubergine slices then a sprinkling of finely grated parmesan and tear pieces of buffalo mozzarella and dot over. Then repeat again until your final layer is aubergine top with tomato sauce and then liberally sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes to 1 hour. If it is browning too quickly you can cover with some tin foil and reduce the temp a little bit.

Remove from oven and rest for 30 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread and a leafy salad. Delish!!!!!

It is great for leftovers too.

By the way sorry about the terrible photo of the finished result – bad lighting (well that is my excuse) next time a make it I promise to take some better shots and upload them.

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