Eggplant Parmesan Amalfi Style

Parmigiana di Melanzane all'Amalfitani

Mary Ann Esposito

Leaden eggplant coated in flour and beaten egg have no place in Amalfitani cooking. Eggplant is treated lightly so the dish is not heavy. Years ago when traveling in Sorrento, a chef I was working with gave me a little tip...never fry eggplant in olive oil, it absorbs too much and makes the dish heavy. Instead he recommended using peanut oil because the eggplant will absorb much less. I have used both; you be the judge. It is best to salt the eggplant slices first to rid it of water. Do this at least an hour before cooking.

SERVES 8

Ingredients

3 medium size eggplants, washed, dried, stemmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick lengthwise slices.
Fine sea salt
3 cups tomato sauce
1 cup Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
1 ball (6 ounces) fior di latte, cut into small pieces
1 bunch basil leaves
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small bunch fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan and when it is hot add the garlic and cook quickly; do not let the garlic burn.

Stir on the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and cook for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Layer the eggplant slices in a colander and sprinkle the layers with salt. Cover the eggplant with a weight like a tomato can and allow the eggplant to sweat for an hour or more. Then rinse the slices and dry them well.

In a large sauté pan heat 1/3 cup of the oil until it reaches 375°F.

Fry the slices a few at a time until nicely browned and lay the slices on absorbent paper.

Continue frying the slices, adding more oil as needed.

Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in a 9 x 12 inch casserole dish. Lay a row of eggplant slices over the sauce. Sprinkle on a layer of fior di latte. Add another thin layer of tomato sauce, some of the Parmigiano Reggiano and a few basil leaves. Continue making layers ending with eggplant. Top with the remaining sauce and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. 

Bake about 45 minutes or until bubbly. Allow the eggplant to set up for about 15 minutes. Then cut into pieces and serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: I used a Le Creuset 10 x 3 inch casserole dish and made 5 layers of eggplant.

This recipe is featured on show 2008 – The Cooking of Campania.

 

 

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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Comments

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  1. Paul Lally, Executive producer's avatar

    Paul Lally, Executive producer

    | Permalink
    Here's that recipe for you:

    Cut and paste this in your browser window: http://www.ciaoitalia.com/seasons/17/1716/lemon-curd-meringue-cake
  2. Debra Holloway's avatar

    Debra Holloway

    | Permalink
    I really enjoy watching your show and in all the years you have been on the air, this is the first time I have watched you. I have a question about the salt tablets that you use, where do you get them from? I have tried doing a search on the computer and cannot find them anywhere. Thank-you for your time.
  3. Paul Lally, Executive producer's avatar

    Paul Lally, Executive producer

    | Permalink
    Hi, Debra,

    We got them when we were filming in Sicily and brought them back with us. “Salti” is the brand name and look to be available at this link:
    http://salumeriaitaliana.com/catalog/pantry/salt-seasonings/salti-natural-sea-salt-tablets

    Hope this helps,
    Paul

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