Eggplant Parmesan Amalfi Style / Parmigiana di Melanzane all'Amalfitani
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.
- 3 medium size eggplants, washed, dried, stemmed and cut intoinch thick lengthwise slices.
- Fine sea salt
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 1 cup Filippo Berio extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
- 1 ball (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.
- 15 Stir on the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and cook for aboutminutes. Set aside.
- 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.