1 large eggplant cut into 1cm rounds
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
small red chilli, or crushed chilli flakes (optional)
3 anchovy fillets (optional), if you’re cooking for a vegetarian sub in capers!
500g chopped tomatoes, you can use fresh (skinned) or tinned
¾ cup breadcrumbs (panko are great, or any white bread)
⅓cup parmesan, grated
⅓ cup parsley, finely chopped
200g mozzarella, sliced into 0.5cm thick rounds
Eggplants and tomatoes are really putting on a show at the moment, it seemed only right we make a parmigiana to celebrate. This is a bit of a project, but as with most cooking projects, it pays off by the mouthful. However, if you want a short cut, you can use the Lello tomato sugo or tomato and eggplant sugo, just skip the sauce making step and after roasting the eggplant and toasting the breadcrumbs, assemble!
Serves two, generously
Roast the eggplant: Preheat oven to 220°. Drizzle eggplant with about half the olive oil, season with salt and pepper (on both sides) and roast, turning eggplant halfway through, until it’s tender and both sides are deeply brown, 30 minutes.
Toast/roast the bread crumbs: You can do this in a frying pan if you prefer, but we like to spread the breadcrumbs out on a baking tray, drizzle with 2-3 tbsp olive oil and a good pinch of salt and then pop them in the oven, tossing occasionally, until deep golden brown. This will take about 10 mins in a hot oven.
Make the sauce: Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring every now and then until the onions are tender and starting to brown around the edges, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic, chilli and anchovies, if using, and stir, letting them all meld into the mix. Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and let them simmer gently for 15-30 mins. Once it tastes good and feels nicely thickened, remove from heat.
Assemble the parm: Spoon about half of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 1l baking dish. Add half the eggplant (a little overlap is fine, so are gaps). Top with half the parmesan and parsley. Scatter half the bread crumbs in a nice even layer on top of all that, followed by half the mozzarella. Repeat this, ending with the mozzarella. Add a little more parmesan if you feel like it, maybe some black pepper.
Bake the parm: Pop it into the oven until the cheese is browned and everything is bubbling around the edges, 15–20 minutes
Eat the parm! Scoop out messy spoonfuls onto plates and serve alongside a light green salad with an acidic dressing – we love it with shaved fennel, cucumber and parsley dressed in a simple vinaigrette!
Hints and Tips
This was adapted from A little eggplant parm