Just like temperamental climate, parmigiana di melanzane is all approximately layers: aubergine, tomato sauce, and cheese (mozzarella, scamorza, caciocavallo, and regularly parmesan, too). The “parm” does now not, as I thought for decades, talk over with the inclusion of parmesan cheese.
According to Sicilian Food: Recipes from Italy’s Abundant Isle, by using Mary Taylor Simeti, it refers to Parmigiano, which means that shutters in Sicilian. One day, as a person in Sicily, organized slices of fried aubergine, corners overlapping corners, they had been reminded of wooden shutters and their overlapping slats. However, as Sicilians war to pronounce the letter “l”, their creation has become parmigiana di melanzane instead. This direction should be one of the many gastronomic testimonies that are surpassed around like Chinese whispers, but, proper or no longer, the idea of shutters is helpful in terms of creation, reminding us how the fried slices should be arranged.
The first query with this dish is whether to fry or no longer to fry. Fry, fry, fry is continually my solution, specifically on the subject of aubergine slices for parmigiana. This is usually because I like the thick, velvet-like texture and deep flavor. This is created using letting pieces dance around a pan of hot olive oil till mild golden in color and ever so slightly crisp.
Second, while aubergine is immersed in warm oil (olive or vegetable), the cooking time is reduced and the number of fats absorbed with it. The door opens huge, shower cap on, I fry in a deep frying pan, heating inches of oil till a dice of bread dances across the pan with a coat of bubbles. I fry four large aubergines sliced into 3mm rounds in batches and, as soon as golden, elevate them directly to a tray lined with lots of kitchen paper to empty. I even have determined that that is a task that takes precisely the same quantity of time as two returned-to-returned episodes of Desert Island Discs.
For a leaner model in spirit and flavor, the slices may be brushed with olive oil and roasted within the oven or seared on a grill pan until smooth and branded with darkish traces.
Whether you pick to fry, bake, or grill, even as the aubergine slices rest, cut 400g mozzarella into thin, scraggy slices (or in reality shred it), grate 150g parmesan, and tip 300ml clean tomato sauce right into a bowl. This may be your secret sauce, an excellent first-class passata from a jar or a tin of peeled plum tomatoes exceeded through a food mill and pro with salt and ripped basil.
Now it’s all it’soximately making layers in an oven-evidence dish – a 40cm x 27cm Pyrex one is correct. Start with a layer of aubergine, the corners overlapping barely like shutters, followed through a smear of tomato sauce, a few ripped basil leaves, mozzarella, and parmesan. Repeat this collection of layers until you have used up all the ingredients, finishing with a layer of aubergine. The pinnacle will want a thick carpet of grated parmesan and some breadcrumbs, too, if you like, plus a zigzag of olive oil.
Resting is as important as cooking. Once the parmigiana has been baked at 180C (160C fan)/fuel four for a half-hour, depart to sit down for at least more than one hour and up to 12. It is the identical precept right here as with lasagne; while served immediately from the oven, it will likely be a smooth and sloppy affair, the considerable warmness blinding the flavour. Resting will not most effective increase the flavor, it’s goinit’s additionally permit the melted mozzarella and parmesan to settle and firm up into a coherent entire.