Second courses

Eggplant parmigiana

Ingredients for six people:
4 eggplants, cut into ½” slices
3 cups freshly made tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups parmigiano or caciocavallo cheese, freshly grated
Extra virgin olive oil for frying
10 basil leaves
Sea salt

Slice the eggplant lengthwise and place in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 tbs of sea salt, cover with water and top with a dish to keep the slices underwater.

This old method still used today is supposed to drain out the bitterness from eggplant but most of all it prevents the eggplant from absorbing oil during the frying process.

Let sit about 1/2 hour. Drain and pat dry with a kitchen cloth.

Heat about 3 cups of olive oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium high heat. Oil should not smoke but sizzle when adding the eggplant.

Now add one layer of eggplant slices. Fry over medium to high heat turning once until golden on both sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat if oil begins to smoke or slices burn.

Transfer slices to a colander set over a plate and drain off any excess oil. Cook all slices this way.

Coat a 30cm/14” by 20cm/10” serving dish with three spoonfuls of the tomato sauce. Cover with a layer of eggplant, top with more tomato sauce, 4 tablespoons of the cheese and about six basil leaves. Add another layer of eggplant, tomato sauce, cheese and basil leaves.

Place all the aubergine slices this way, last layer should have tomato sauce and a sprinkling of cheese and basil leaves.

Parmigiana can be baked in a hot oven 200°C/400° F for about 25 minutes or eaten as it is.

Serve at room temperature.

Once cold it can be frozen for later use.

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