Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
3 large eggplants
1 28-ounce can of peeled plum Italian tomatoes
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh basil leaves
5 large eggs, divided
1/2 pound Swiss cheese, cut into thin slices and divided in thirds
1/2 pound provolone cheese, cut into chunks and divided in thirds
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Cut stems off unpeeled eggplants. Slice vertically into 1/8-inch slices. Layer slices in a colander, sprinkle with sea salt until all slices are salted and layered. Place colander over a sheet pan to catch liquid secreted by eggplants, removing the bitterness. Put a half gallon container filled with water on top of the slices to weigh them down. Set aside for 1 hour.
Crush peeled plum tomatoes with your hands or coarse chop by pulsing in a blender. Pour into a medium frying pan, add the whole garlic cloves and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until thickened. Stir and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, sugar, then add torn basil leaves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Discard the garlic cloves and set sauce aside.
While sauce is simmering, in medium saucepan, hard boil 3 eggs, about 7 to 8 minutes. Drain off hot water, run cold water over the eggs and let cool. Pell the eggs and set them aside.
After one hour or so, rinse eggplant slices and dry with paper towels. Heat a layer of olive oil in a large heavy frying pan, add eggplant slices and fry until golden on both sides. Remove slices to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat, adding olive oil to frying pan as needed to fry the rest.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a casserole dish or an oblong 9 x 12 baking pan, drop 4 or 5 serving spoonfuls of tomato sauce and spread with the back of the spoon into a thin layer. Over sauce, fit a layer of fried eggplant slices. Sprinkle 1/3 of sliced cheese and cut up one hard-boiled egg into thin slices and sprinkle over. Next, add tomato sauce in a thin layer with the serving spoon, again spreading it with the back of the spoon. (Sauce does not have to completely cover everything). Sprinkle a generous layer of grated parmesan cheese over sauce layer. Repeat layering: eggplant, sliced cheese, slices of hard-boiled egg, tomato sauce and grated cheese for two more layers. Then for the next and last layer, fit eggplant slices to cover. Add a layer of tomato sauce, then sprinkle with grated parmesan. Whisk the two remaining eggs in a small bowl, and drizzle over sauce and parmesan layer, gently spreading to almost cover top.
Bake in middle of preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool on rack, then cut into 2 by 3-inch individual servings. Serve warm or at room temperature, as an appetizer or as a side dish.
This recipe is featured on show 2722 – Catanian Cooking.