Eggplant Parmigiana, the epitome of Sicilian cuisine
Eggplant Parmigiana is one of the most emblematic dishes of Sicilian cuisine. This delicacy truly embodies the essence of Sicily, with its impeccable blend of robust and delicate flavors, making it an absolute treat for the palate. Preparing Eggplant Parmigiana requires some time and patience, but the end result is nothing short of extraordinary. In this recipe, I'll guide you step by step in crafting this unique dish, perfect for a family lunch or dinner with friends.
3 large eggplants
500 ml of tomato sauce
250 g of mozzarella cheese
100 g of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 cloves of garlic
Fresh basil to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Slice the eggplants thinly and place them in a colander with some salt. Let them rest for at least 30 minutes to drain excess water.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. In a pan, sauté the garlic in some oil, then add the tomato sauce, chopped fresh basil, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 15-20 minutes over medium heat.
3. Rinse the eggplant slices under running water and pat them dry with a clean cloth.
4. In a pan, fry the eggplant slices in hot oil until golden brown. Drain excess oil using paper towels.
5. In a baking dish, start layering the Parmigiana: begin with a base of tomato sauce, followed by a layer of eggplant slices, diced mozzarella, and grated Parmigiano. Repeat until the dish is full.
6. Bake the Parmigiana in a preheated oven at 180°C (356°F) for about 30 minutes or until the surface is golden and crispy.
7. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Eggplant Parmigiana is the epitome of Sicilian charm on a plate! Prepare it with care and love, and let yourself be captivated by the rich and enveloping flavors of Sicily. Bon appétit!
Curiosity The name "parmigiana" (often referred to as "parmigiana di melanzane" when specifically talking about the eggplant version) is a bit of a mystery in its origins, and there are a few theories about how the dish got its name:
1. Relation to Parma: One theory suggests that the dish has its origins in the region of Parma in Northern Italy. The name could be derived from the city's name, especially given the use of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, which is also from the Parma region. However, this theory is often debated since the dish is more commonly associated with Southern Italy, particularly Sicily and Campania.
2. Layering Method: Another theory is that the name "parmigiana" refers to the way the dish is assembled. In Italian, "parmi" can be related to "palm" (as in the palm of a hand), and "parmigiana" might refer to the overlapping layers of eggplant, similar to the overlapping of cards in a hand. The dish is characterized by its layers of thinly sliced eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce.
3. Use of Parmigiano Cheese: The dish prominently features Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and some believe that the name "parmigiana" is simply a nod to this key ingredient.
4. Sicilian Etymology: Some etymologists believe that the name comes from the Sicilian word "parmiciana," which refers to the wooden slats of window shutters. This is because the layers of eggplant in the dish resemble these slats.
While the exact origin of the name remains a topic of debate, what's clear is that "parmigiana" has become synonymous with a delicious, layered dish that showcases the flavors of eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese. Regardless of its name's origin, it's a beloved dish in Italian cuisine and has been adopted and adapted by many cultures worldwide.
The eggplant parmigiana is an iconic dish of Sicilian cuisine, but there are many intriguing variations of this delight. Here are some alternatives to the traditional eggplant parmigiana:
1. Parmigiana with Zucchini and Eggplant: A version that combines both eggplants and zucchinis, both fried and layered with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and spices.
2. Sicilian-Style Eggplant: A variant that uses fried eggplants, hard-boiled eggs, mozzarella, and a rich tomato sauce cooked with onions, oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Fish Parmigiana: A reinterpretation that includes layers of fish, such as tuna belly or amberjack, alternated with tomato and cheese. It's served on a bed of cuttlefish ink ragù.
4. Light Parmigiana: An oven-baked version that uses grilled eggplants and a caciocavallo cheese fondue.
5. Quail-Style Eggplant: A preparation where the eggplant is cut to resemble a quail and then fried. It's then prepared in the style of parmigiana.
6. Parmigiana with Swordfish Carpaccio: A variant that combines grilled eggplants with swordfish carpaccio and a basil pesto.
7. Parmigiana with Anchovies and Toasted Bread Crumbs: A savory version that uses anchovies and toasted bread crumbs as the main ingredients.
8. Parmigiana with a Crust of Ragusano Cheese: A variant that features a crispy crust of grated Ragusano cheese.
9. Eggplant and Cod Terrine: A terrine preparation that combines eggplants and cod, layered and baked in the oven.
These variations offer an interesting twist on the traditional eggplant parmigiana, introducing new flavors and textures.
If you like these recipes, let us know in the comments and we will make a dedicated post.