Kitchen Classic – Aubergine Parmigiana Made With My Own Home Grown Aubergines
I’m taking a serious risk today posting this traditional kitchen classic recipe Aubergine Parmigiana. As you all know I have had an exciting summer producing spectacular fruit and vegetables, some more successful than others but with a few casualties along the way too.
I made many jars of tomato sauce with my glut of tomatoes which came in super handy for this recipe. Unfortunately the bugs ate my cavolo nero and the mulberries and strawberries were pretty sad this year too. However the courgettes, raspberries, blackberries, onions, borlotti beans, peas, broad beans, large variety of herbs, salad leaves did so incredibly well that we gorged like kings for most of the summer.
Then there were my aubergines and how spectacularly they glistened in the late autumn sun, beautiful! At first I was nervous about them and thought if it works.. a result; if not then hey ho we know for next year. I was astounded on how incredibly well they have grown without a cold frame or green house, no they soldiered on without and delivered plenty. I had six from one plant, 5 from second and 3 from the third , not bad at all!? As a matter of fact there are still four out there, even though we have had our first frost I seriously thought they would have been a goner by now.
I find aubergines have the marmite effect, you either love or loathe them. I do not really trust aubergines cooked by anyone other than myself, they have to be cooked properly all the way through. Any piece of undercooked aubergine makes my mouth itchy and it’s rather uncomfortable and irritating. Then you get the soggy wet fish effect if the aubergines were soaked in oil and cooked in a cold pan, I am not sure which irritates me the most! Wow that’s a bit of chefs ranting over and done with for today.
Now onto the reason why I think it might be a risk for me posting such a traditional kitchen classic. It’s not really pushing culinary boundaries and I have not added anything spectacular apart from using my own home grown aubergines but then this is a traditional Italian kitchen classic so does it really need tampering with? I’ll answer that for you, No! We thoroughly enjoy classics, done well ,cooked with confidence and using the finest ingredients we can lay our hands on. I think that’s a good enough reason to give this dish a fair place on the British Larder…..okay then if you really need to make a few adjustments, a layer of sauteed field mushrooms and blanched shredded cavolo nero would be delicious.
Read my Turkish Inspired Aubergine Soup recipe to help you decide if you should salt or not salt your Aubergines! Food for thought!
- 2 medium size aubergines, washed and top removed
- 600ml home made tomato sauce, reduced to 500ml
- 4tbs olive oil
- 1 large ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, ripped into pieces
- 200g grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 2 thick slices of ciabatta bread, crust removed and ripped into small pieces to represent large coarse breadcrumbs
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Leaves form 4 large stalks of fresh basil, keep 1/3 for the garnish
- Leaves from 2 stalks of fresh oregano
- Sunflower oil to fry the basil leaves for garnish
Heat a griddle pan on the cooker until very hot, and preheat the oven to 180°C. Place 4 individual oven safe serving dishes on a baking tray.
Transfer the tomato sauce to a large saucepan and bring it to the boil, reduce the sauce to 500ml to make it thicker and richer, stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan.
Slice the aubergines into 1/2 cm thick slices, lay them on a baking tray, season on both sides and brush them with the olive oil. Griddle the aubergines until dark bar marked on both sides, return to the oven tray.
Pour 1cm thick layer of sunflower oil into a small saucepan and heat the oil gently, fry 1/3 of the basil leaves carefully until crispy on both sides, drain on kitchen paper and season, leave to cool.
Once the sauce and aubergines are ready start assembling the parmigiana dishes.
Start with a layer of the tomato sauce, aubergine, mozzarella, coarse bread crumbs, parmesan, fresh basil and oregano and fresh black pepper. Divide the ingredients between the four dishes and finish with one slice of aubergine and grated Parmesan.
Bake the dishes in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, let them rest for 5 minutes before garnishing them with the crispy basil leaves and serve.
Serves 4 individual portions