Thursday, June 1, 2017

Melanzane alla Parmigiana










     Eggplant Parmigiana!
     There are several different ways to prepare Eggplant Parmigiana and some are much better than others.  Today's recipe is the same as what can be found in many Italian restaurants.  The eggplant is sliced lengthwise, then lightly coated with egg batter and pan fried.  Several layers of the fried eggplant, Parmigiana Cheese and tomato sauce are stacked high on a broiler pan.  The eggplant stack is topped with mozzarella and baked till the cheese melts.  The result is one of the most satisfying Eggplant Parmigiana that there is!

     Salsa di Pomodoro:  
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website. 
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Egg Batter Pan Fried Eggplant:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
     Many chefs recommend that fine grated Parmigiana Cheese be added to the egg batter, so the egg batter will stick to whatever it coats when fried.  Adding cheese is a crutch and the fried cheese results in a bitter flavor.  If good batter coating techniques are used, then there is there is no need to add grated Parmigiana Cheese!   
     Step 1:  Select 1 medium size eggplant that weighs about 1 pound to 1 1/4 pounds.
     Peel the eggplant skin with a knife.
     Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3/16" thick slices.  (About 6 to 8 slices of eggplant are needed.)
     Step 2:  Lay the eggplant slices side by side on a sheet pan.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt on both sides of each eggplant slice.
     *The salt will cause the eggplant to sweat out excess moisture.  The salt will also rid of some of the bitter flavor, while preserving the pale color of the eggplant!
     Let the eggplant slices sweat for about 20 minutes.
     Step 3:  Rinse each eggplant slice under cold running water.
     Pat the eggplant slices dry with a lint free pastry towel.
     Step 4:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Place 2 cups of flour in a shallow container.
     Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour.
     Place the each floured eggplant slices in the egg wash.
     Toss the eggplant slices with the egg wash till they are thoroughly coated.
     Set the bowl aside.
     Step 6:  Heat a wide sauté pan (or cast iron skillet) over medium heat.
     Add enough blended olive oil, so the oil is about 3/4" deep in the pan.
     Adjust the temperature of the oil to 360ºF.
     Step 7:  Pull 1 slice of eggplant out of the egg wash and knock off any excess egg wash by dragging the eggplant slice against the rim of the mixing bowl.
     Place the egg batter coated eggplant in the hot oil.
     *Two or more slices of batter coated eggplant can be placed side by side in the hot oil, but do not let the eggplant slices overlap.
     Pan fry a few egg washed eggplant slices at a time, till they are a light golden brown color on both sides.  Try to only flip each eggplant slice one time.
     Step 8:  Place the fried slices of eggplant on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the pan fried egg batter coated eggplant warm on a stove top.

     Melanzane alla Parmigiana:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Step 1:  Pour about 1/4 cup of the Salsa di Pomodoro on the center of a broiler pan (or pie tin).
     Overlap two slices of the pan fried eggplant on top of the sauce.
     Step 2:  Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the Salsa di Pomodoro on the 2 eggplant slices.
     Spread the sauce so it coats the eggplant.
     Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of fine grated Parmigiana Cheese on the tomato sauce.
     Step 3:  Stack and overlap 2 more eggplant slices on top of the first layer.
     Repeat Step 2.
     Step 4:  Repeat Step 2 and Step 3 till all of the pan fried eggplant slices are stacked about 3 or 4 layers thick and the Eggplant Parmigiana stands tall, but leave the top layer bare.
     Step 5:  Pour about 1/2 cup of the Salsa di Pomodoro over the eggplant stack.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of fine grated Parmigiana Cheese over the sauce.
     Place a few thin slices of Mozzarella Cheese on top of the eggplant stack.  (About 2 to 3 ounces.)
     Step 6:  Place the pan in a 350ºF oven.
     Bake till the Eggplant Parmigiana becomes hot and the Mozzarella Cheese melts.
     *Try not to brown the Mozzarella or the cheese will have an undesirable bitter flavor!
     Step 7:  Remove the baking pan from the oven.
     Use a large spatula to slide the eggplant parmigiana onto a plate.
     Serve with a past of your choice that is tossed with some Salsa di Pomodoro.  (Anelletti is the pasta in the photos above.)
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of fine chopped Italian Parsley over the Eggplant Parmigiana and pasta.
     Garnish with an Italian Parsley sprig.
 
     Mama mia!  Thats a great Melanzane alla Parmigiana!

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