Melanzane Parmigiana was originally a Sicilian dish called Parmiciana di melenzane, parmiciana being the slats of a wooden shutter which resemble the layering of the slices of eggplant in the dish. In the form in which it is now known worldwide, it is generally an oven baked dish consisting of aubergine, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella and tomato sauce.
- 3 or 4 big eggplants (aubergines)
- tomato sauce
- about 200 or 300 grams of mozzarella cheese, sliced
- grated Parmesan cheese
- flour or breadcrumbs
- oil to fry
- Wash eggplants and cut them in slices about 1-1.5 cm thick.
- Salt each slice on both sides and put them on a big plate.
- Cover them with another plate, pressing a bit.
- Let them rest for 20-30 minutes or more, time permitting (up to 2 hours).
- Then wash the slices under running water and let them dry a while.
- Alternatively, place salted eggplant slices in a large strainer and place a weight (e.g., a smaller pot of water) on top to help squeeze out the water.
- Dust the slices with flour and/or bread crumbs and fry them. (Or, bake them in an oven at 180°C/350°F for ten minutes with a very small amount of olive oil on each slice to make them somewhat lighter than if fried.) Do not overcook, as they will spend some time in the oven later.
- Take a pan for the oven and make a layer with eggplants slices, then one with the tomato sauce, then one with some slices of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Some cooks add fresh basil leaves and cooked egg slices.
- Make as many layers as you wish, but 3 or 4 should be enough. Be sure the last one to be completely full of Parmesan cheese, that will make a nice crust when cooked.
- Now everything is finished, put the pan in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for about 20-30 minutes.
In La Cucina tradizionale siciliana by Anna Pomar, no breadcrumbs are used.