Ingredients: Per 4 servings
Bring a medium pot of cold water to a boil. Meanwhile peel the eggplants and cut them, vertically, into ½-inch thick slices.
When the water reaches a boil, add coarse salt to taste, then the eggplant slices and simmer for five minutes. Transfer eggplants onto a cotton dish towel, using a strainer skimmer. Let the eggplant drain completely.
Place a medium casserole with the butter and olive oil over medium heat, and when the butter is melted, add the chopped onion and the cut up or ground prosciutto.
Sautè for two minutes, then arrange all the eggplant pieces in the casserole, lightly season with salt and pepper and add the tomatoes. Simmer for thirty minutes, stirring every so often and adding a little broth if needed. By that time eggplant should be soft and completely cooked.
You can serve, with or without the grated cheese, immediately or at room temperature after a few hours. This dish may be reheated and served as a side dish or even as an appetizer.
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The first recipe for parmigiana (sometimes refereed to as parmesan in English) that we know of come from Vincenzo Corrado, who worked as a chef for various noble Neapolitan families between the 18th and 19th centuries. In his book, “Il cuoco galante”, he suggests to prepare the eggplant like the zucchini and tomatoes, placing them in layers. To find a recipe similar to what we think of as parmigiana today, you would have to get a hold of a copy of Ippolito Cavalcanti’s book “Cucina teorica-pratica”, also published in Naples. His recipe calls for fried eggplant, layered with cheese, basil and tomato.
Did you know that...
The term “parmigiana” (or in the style of Parma) is not only used for the traditional recipes of Parma. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, this word was used to describe any recipe with parmesan cheese and, more generally, for vegetable dishes layered with other ingredients.
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