There’s no denying it: this is the “cult” dish of Neapolitan cuisine. Parmigiana di melanzane has the X factor compared to other local dishes; a certain “je ne sais quoi” which you can only begin to understand when you taste it, preferably accompanied by some crusty bread from a wood-burning oven. A delight for the taste buds, in all its many variations. This is the recipe for the traditional Neapolitan parmigiana di melanzane.
Ingredients (for 4 persons):
4 large aubergines (eggplant)
300 g mozzarella (kept for 24 hours in the refrigerator, if fresh)
700 g tomato sauce (passata)
2 cloves of garlic
4 basil leaves
100 g grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 glass of vegetable oil for frying
2 tablespoons of table salt
Making of recipe
Wash the aubergines (eggplant), remove the ends, but do not peel. Slice lengthwise and place in a bowl covering each layer with a tablespoon of salt. Put a flat plate on top of the aubergines and place a 2kg weight on the plate so as to squeeze out the bitter juice. After an hour, squeeze the aubergine slices, rinse under cold water and then dry on kitchen paper. Fry the aubergines in hot oil until they are golden on both sides. In the meantime, chop the garlic finely and fry in the extra virgin olive oil. Then add the tomato sauce and cook for 20 minutes. Add basil and a little salt. Oil an oven dish and place a layer of aubergine slices side by side, then add two tablespoons of the sauce and spread evenly over the slices. Sprinkle with parmesan and thin slices of mozzarella and start a new layer, continuing until all the ingredients are finished, ending with an extra helping of sauce on top. Place the dish in the oven (200°C) for about 35 minutes or on the hob (low flame) so that the parmigiana simmers gently for no more than 20 minutes. Leave the parmigiana to cool and serve cold.