Eggplant Parmigiana

Eat Eggplant Parmigiana with me in Parma on a Small Group Food & Wine Tour

Eggplant Parmigiana using Vannella Buffalo Mozzarella

While the name suggests a clear connection with the northern Italian city of Parma – and eggplant Parmigiana appears on almost every restaurant menu there – southern Italy also claims this delicious dish. It’s traditional to Naples and the surrounding countryside, famous for the delicate fresh mozzarella made from buffalo milk (I use one from Vannella Cheese), and also popular in Calabria and Sicily. Some food historians suggest it may have originated in the south and the name derives from the inclusion of parmesan cheese from the region around Parma. Other sources suggest the name is a corruption of either the Sicilian word for shutter or a Persian word! We may never know. I do know that eggplant Parmigiana is a quick, easy, crowd-pleaser that can be prepared in advance and baked when needed. It’s great served with a salad of soft green leaves such as butter lettuce. While it’s not traditional, I sometimes stir a few anchovies into the tomato sauce for an extra umami kick. In the glass I love a drop or two of Lady A sauvignon blanc from Domaine A in Tasmania. It’s not your typical sauv blanc and complements the big flavours of this warming eggplant parmigiana so well!

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 3 large eggplants, sliced
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • 12 basil leaves, torn
  • 2 quantities Tomato Sauce (or 700g tomato passata)
  • 2 buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 1½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place eggplant on oiled oven trays, brush generously with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20-30 minutes until well-coloured.
  3. Stir basil through the Tomato Sauce and place a little sauce in the base of a baking dish.
  4. Add a layer of eggplant, top with a layer of mozzarella, some parmesan cheese and more sauce.
  5. Continue layering until all ingredients are used, pressing down gently to ensure everything is well coated with sauce, and finishing with parmesan.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the top is well-coloured.

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Eggplant Parmigiana

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