Aubergine Parmesan.. yum

August 14, 2009

Summer Staples

Summer Staples

This week our bags have three of summer’s great staples –  courgettes, tomatoes and aubergines. In the past it’s always been difficult to source these things locally for any length of time but now, thanks to our partnership with Marc Michel who is based about 45 minutes away in Kilmacanogue we have a constant supply that will run into the late Autumn. Marc himself is a wonderful chef as anyone lucky to have eaten in his farm cafe Organic Life will tell you and I think that’s why everything is so good (this week’s gorgeous Heirloom tomatoes are just stunning and better than lots we’ve had over the years from places like France and Italy). While the veg is local this week’s recipes is not. It’s for for Eggplant Parmesan and it has to be one of my all time favourite dishes.

If you’ve never had it, Eggplant Parmesan consists of layers of fried aubergine (eggplant) , rich tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil leaves baked in the oven and then ideally served with good crusty bread. 2 medium-sized aubergines will give you enough for 2 people but if you fall in love with the dish (and you will!!!) you might want to double the quantities.

As you may know, aubergines can be prone to bitterness and are often “purged” before cooking a process that involves cutting them into slices about 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling them with salt to draw out the bitter juices. The best way to do this is to line a colander with the slices and lightly sprinkle them with fine salt then layer with more slices and salt again until you’ve used up all the aubergines. You then leave them for at least 45 minutes with a dish under the colander to collect all the drippings (the bitterness) that come out. Afterwards, pat each slice with a clean tea-towel or some kitchen paper and you’re ready to go. If all this sounds like way too much faffing and you’re beginning to write this dish off – don’t!!! Just give yourself lots of time and open a nice red to enjoy as you work….

<strong>Eggplant Parmesan (for 2)</strong>

450gr Aubergines

1 tin chopped tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt

Sugar

Plain flour

1 ball mozzarella

3-4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 bunch fresh basil

Slice and salt the aubergine as I’ve just described then get started on the rest. In a pan cook down the tomatoes with a generous dash of olive oil, a pinch of salt and a teaspoon sugar. They are ready when the tomatoes have reduced by about half and the oil is beginning to separate from the tomato sauce.

When the aubergines are ready for cooking heat about 1 1/2 inches of olive oil. Dredge the aubergine slices in flour and batch fry them all until golden. Only coat the aubergines just before frying or they’ll go soggy . Slice the mozzarella into thinnish slices and prepare about 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese.

Preheat the oven to 200 degress (Gas mark 5). To put the dish together take a mediumsized oven dish and smear the bottom with Tomato sauce (this will stop the aubergines sticking). Begin with a layer of aubergines then spread some of the tomato sauce on top followed by a scattering of mozzarella slices and a sprinkling of Parmesan. Finally add about 6-8 torn basil leaves. Repeat this procedure until you’ve used up all the ingredients ending with a layer of aubergines. Top with grated Parmesan then place in the oven (middle shelf) and bake for 35 minutes.

This dish is very rich so you can only eat a small amount ( you’ll want to eat more but you can’t – believe me – I’ve tried!) Leftovers will keep for a few days but in our house this dish never lasts that long.

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3 Responses to “Aubergine Parmesan.. yum”

  1. Anne Says:

    Sarah,

    Made the eggplant parmesan last night and wow what a treat. Had to stop my husband licking the dishes clean. Looking forward to next week.

    Anne

  2. Trinda Says:

    This was delicious, my husband saw a friend pull up outside our house and quickly ensured that the last helping was already on his plate before he went to open the door. Delicious but you’d probably need to run a marathon afterwards to shed those calories!


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