I will not compete with my Italian mother-in-law, therefore following is a simpler version of a real Neapolitan parmiggana. My hubby would call it the American version. 😉
- 1 large onion, peeled & diced
- 2 large eggplant, sliced into rounds about 1.5cm (1/2in) thick
- 2 x 400g (140z) can tomatoes
- 2 x Mozzarella cheese 1 bunch basil, leaves picked
- 2 large handfuls freshly grated parmesan cheese + extra to serve
- Cook onion with a little olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat until soft but not browned.
- Meanwhile sprinkle eggplant layers with salt and allow to stand while the onion cooks.
- Add tomatoes and a few basil leaves to the onion. Crush tomatoes to break up and simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes to an hour – you just want the flavours to come together – no need for the sauce to reduce. And don’t worry about seasoning it – there will be plenty of salt in the eggplant and cheese.
- Preheat oven to 220C (425F). Generously oil a large baking tray.
- Pat eggplant dry with paper towel, removing as much salt as possible. Place eggplant in a single layer on the tray (you may need 2 trays) and drizzle generously with more olive oil.
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes, turning once or twice until eggplant is very soft and golden brown on both sides.
- Place a layer of tomato sauce in a medium baking dish. Layer with eggplant slices, top with more sauce, a few basil leaves and some mozzarella. Repeat the layers until everything is used up finishing with a generous sprinkle of cheese.
- Bake for 20 – 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is hot and bubbling.
If you were after a shortcut you could substitute in a large jar of tomato passata or pre-made tomato pasta sauce. Lovely with a crunchy, bitter leaf salad but also excellent the next day as a sandwich filling.