Saturday, May 05, 2007

Aubergine Parmesan

Today I picked up some beautiful looking baby eggplants from Mitchell's Farm in Saanich and sealed in fate of tonight's dinner. Eggplant Parmesan. This recipe is one of my favorite's from one of my favorite cookbooks, Celia Brooks Brown's World Vegetarian Classics.

News to me, the eggplant is a relative of the tomato and potato and is synonymous with Mediterranean cuisine- although its wild ancestor actually hails from India.

Eggplant Parmesan always makes for a wonderfully rich and delicious meal. It's a classic dish, one that everyone should have in their recipe toolkit.

Aubergine (Eggplant) Parmesan (Serves 4-6)

2 good sized eggplants (1 pound), thinly sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup white Flour, for dredging
2-3 tablespoons grape seed oil, for frying
11 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
10-12 basil leaves, chopped

For the tomato sauce:
14 oz can Italian plum, whole peeled tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

8 x 12 inch casserole dish

Arrange the eggplant slices in a colander and evenly sprinkle with salt. Leave to drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Pat eggplant dry with paper towel. Spread some flour on a large plate and dredge the eggplant in the flour to coat with flour evenly.

Line a large tray with paper towel, for draining the eggplant once fried. In a large frying pan over a high heat, add oil. Once the oil is hot, fry the eggplant in batches, turning once, until golden on both sides. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400.

To make the sauce, combine the tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Reduce by half over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. It will look like little sauce, but that's all you will need.

Lightly oil the casserole dish. To assemble, place one layer of eggplant slices in the dish. Smear a little tomato sauce over the surface, top with mozzarella slices, a light layer of Parmesan cheese and some chopped basil. Repeat layers. Finish with a layer of eggplant topped with a little Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

Leave to cool just a little and serve with a leafy salad.

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