There is no neighborhood in Italy where during these summer days someone is not frying eggplants. And in 90% of the cases be sure there’s Parmigiana on the menu tonight. Best Paired with Pinot Noir for this tasteful dish!
For lunch, for dinner, and EVEN as a “snack” to bring to the beach (!) Parmigiana is one of the iconic summer dishes.
But by no means it’s limited to summer time.
My mother-in-law makes at least a dozen of boxes during the summer time, while eggplants are in season and have the most taste, and puts them in the freezer.
So you can enjoy DELICIOUS parmigiana for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and beyond (if it lasts).
To prepare Parmigiana for freezing use aluminum foil fans s instead of a casserole.
Follow all the steps in this recipe up until baking. You’ll bake Parmigiana once you pull it out of the freezer this winter 😉
With fried eggplant and that much of cheese think Parmigiana is too heavy?
I’m pretty sure not heavier than anything you normally eat, and it’s even super healthy if you grill eggplants instead of frying.
But we’ll go with classic nonna-way, which is frying.
Here are a few tricks to make sure your eggplants are not “oily”.
- Sweat eggplants AND pat-dry with a paper towel before frying. More on that in the recipe.
Vegetable oil fro frying should be well heated but not “smoking”.
Drop a small piece of eggplant to test it first before you start with you first batch.
- Use paper towels to absorb extra oil when eggplants are fried.
- This is a trick you might have not heard before: when Parmigiana is just out of the oven, lightly tilt it over the sink and see if any extra oil comes out.
Note: if you really like going heavy, you can dredge eggplant slices in flour before frying.
But who needs those extra calories, right? 😉
Since it doesn’t really effect the taste much anyway.
A lot of times Italian nonnas add chopped onions to the tomato sauce.
In a saute pan first lightly brown chopped onions, then add tomato sauce, let simmer until it’s reduced. Add fresh basil leaves at the end.
When tomatoes are in season, make fresh homemade tomato sauce for the most authentic taste.
I prefer not to use onions at all. I find parmigiana is much more digestible and lighter on the stomach without the onions in the sauce.
If you’d like to add some extra sweetness add a tablespoon of sugar to tomato passata, or use the one made from cherry tomatoes. Without any refined sugar it’s much sweeter than the classic one and totally delicious.
Try not to fill the casserole till the very top. Leave about 1 inch space at the top.
If you casserole is too shallow use an underlying baking pan. This way all the juices coming out from parmigiana when baked will not mess your oven.
Now you have all the secrets to make a mouth-watering, cheesy Parmigiana with a golden crust and still keep is light on the stomach