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Eggplant parmesan

  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Medium
  • Second Courses
This Puglia-style version of a classic southern Italian dish is enriched with pork sausage.
Puglia

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 1 lb eggplant
  • 3 oz all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • lb tomato sauce
  • 3 ½ oz mozzarella cheese
  • 3 ½ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 3 ½ oz pork sausage, fresh
  • frying oil to taste
  • salt to taste

Preparation:

Wash and trim the eggplants, then slice finely. Place slices in a pasta strainer, allowing them to release excess moisture for 20 minutes.

In a flat-bottomed bowl, beat the eggs. Dip the eggplant slices in the eggs and then immediately cover them in flour. Make sure that the flour is spread evenly across each slice.

Fry the eggplant in a pan with boiling oil. Be sure that the slices are completely emerged in the oil. When golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels.

Use the tip of a knife to make a small incision in the sausage casing, then remove the casing entirely and dice the meat. While the eggplant cools, place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of a baking dish.

Cover with a layer of tomato sauce, then with a layer of eggplant. Then add a portion of the diced mozzarella and sausage. Drizzle with a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce and then cover with grated parmesean. Cover with another layer of eggplant and continue layering the ingredients as before, until they run out. Finish with a layer of eggplant and spread tomato sauce on top.

Garnish with grated parmesean and bake in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes or until the edges are crisp.

Remove from the oven and let rest. Serve room temperature or cold. 

Food History

Although eggplant parmesan is one of the wide spread recipes in southern Italy, it is uncertain where the recipe actually comes from. Some believe it is Sicilian, while others claim that it comes from Naples or Parma. There are even contradicting theories on the origins of the name of the dish. People make the obvious connection with the city of Parma, or at least with Parmigiano Reggiano, but there is also a theory that the name comes from the Sicilian term parmiciana, which refers to the wooden blinds that are layered when closed – just like the layers of eggplant in the dish.
What is certain, however, is that the first recipe for eggplant parmesean was written by Vincenzo Corrado, the personal cook to various noble Neapolitan families between the 18th and 19th centuries and also the author of “Il cuoco galante”.
In his recipe, Corrado suggests layering the eggplant, however the first recipe that is most similar to how the dish is made today was written my Ippolito Cavalcanti in his book “Cucina teorica-pratica”, in which he suggests alternating the layers of eggplant with cheese and tomato.

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