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Eggplant Parmesan, parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, is one of the classic preparations of southern Italy. It is a preparation associated with the cooking of Naples, but it is popular in the Campanian countryside and Calabria and Sicily too. Eggplant Parmesan is a casserole dish made by slicing eggplant thinly and frying it in olive oil. Some cooks dip the eggplant slices in batter or egg before frying, some just fry it, and many flour it first and fry it, while others more concerned with making the dish light, will bake or grill the eggplant slices. The eggplant is layered successively in a baking casserole with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmigiano cheese, basil, and hard-boiled egg slices.
1 large eggplant, trimmed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup polenta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cup tomato pasta sauce
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 fresh basil leaves, shredded
1/4 cup tasty cheese
1. Preheat oven to 200C or 180C fan forced. Lightly spray a 1L capacity shallow ovenproof baking dish with oil.
2. Cut eggplant crossways into 1cm thick rounds.
3. Break egg into a shallow bowl.
4. Place polenta in a plate.
5. Dip eggplant in the egg and then toss to polenta to coat.
6. Heat oil in a large non stick frying pan over high heat.
7. Cook eggplant in batches, until golden in both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.
8. Combine pasta sauce, garlic and basil leaves in a jug. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
9. Spread half of the tomato mixture over base of the prepared dish.
10. Arrange eggplant sizes over tomato.
11. Drizzle eggplant with the remaining tomato mixture and sprinkle with cheese.
12. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
13. Uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden and tender.
14. Serve sprinkled with extra fresh basil leaves if desired.