Eggplant Parmigiana or Roasted Eggplant with Tomato Sauce and Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
The PBS star Mary Ann Esposito recently caused a little bit of controversy over at the Huffington Post when she published a recipe entitled, “The Real Eggplant Parmigiano.” Amongst the comments on the post, some readers accused Mary Ann of pushing an Italian-American version of Eggplant Parmigiano and using an inauthentic cooking oil, like peanut oil (to say the least, the recipe got under the skin of certain individuals; I’m actually wondering why the Huffington Post is publishing articles on food and recipes <talk about being off-brand>). One reader went on to state that Eggplant Parmigiano probably didn’t exist in parts of Italy (especially Southern Italy) until the late 1970’s when Parmigiano Reggiano started becoming readily available.
Nevertheless, I can only comment on the versions of eggplant parmigiano I’m accustomed to and neither of the recipes have a breaded and fried component which include flouring the eggplant slices prior to frying (per Mary Ann).
The first eggplant dish I would label “eggplant parmigiano” is made by simply grilling and layering slices of eggplant and with olive oil, chopped parsley, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano (no baking, frying, or tomato sauce) – click here for the full recipe.
The second version includes pan frying thinly cut eggplant and simmering tomato sauce and mozzarella on the stovetop – click here for the full recipe.
The third version is the focus of this post and is best made with “mini-eggplant” or small Italian eggplant (basically smaller versions of the large generic eggplant found in most markets).
- 6-7 mini Italian eggplant
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 2 cups of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
The dish is fairly straightforward and begins by cutting the mini-eggplant in half (length wise) and roasting at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20-35 or until the interior flesh of the eggplant is nice and soft. Prior to placing the eggplant in the oven, each length should be brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with plenty of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
After removing the eggplant from the oven, you can laddle a bit of tomato sauce over the halved lengths, along with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Thereafter, place the eggplant back in the oven for a few more minutes or until the cheese has melted and, presto, you have a simple baked eggplant or eggplant parmigiano dish.