Back in August, we published a slightly unorthodox eggplant parmigiana recipe where I first roasted, mini or baby eggplant, (these are usually smaller versions of the generic eggplant found in most US supermarkets) and thereafter covered with tomato sauce, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and baked. The result was outstanding but not as cheesy and decadent as the more classic, Italian American, version of eggplant parmigiana. So, if you were asking, Vince, where’s the melted mozzarella cheese, here you go:
- 2 large eggplant
- 2 cups of finely diced mozzarella (the fresh variant or the supermarket kind, whichever you have access to)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Dried red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- My version of the classic eggplant parmigiana starts by pan roasting two large eggplant that have been cubed into roughly 1.5 inch squares. Pan roasting is simple but it does require a large pan, olive oil, salt and garlic, and bit of patience. I usually add about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pan and set my flame on medium low.
- Thereafter, I add 2-3 cloves of roughly chopped garlic, a bit of red pepper flake, the cubed eggplant, and a healthy amount of Kosher salt (to draw the moisture out of the eggplant - the key to producing great eggplant). You'll want to slowly cook the eggplant over a 25-35 minutes process; stirring every 5 minutes or so. You'll know your eggplant is cooked fully when you have nice color and a soft texture (like any recipe, taste the ingredients at every stage to ensure you get a great end result!).
- Next, I take two small sized, and oven proof, ramekin and begin putting together layers of cubed eggplant, finely diced mozzarella, and 1-2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Most likely, you'll be able to build about 3 layers depending on the size of your cubed eggplant. Thereafter, you simply place the ramekins in your oven for 15-20 minutes and bake at 375 degrees F.