Italian Food and Flavours

Aubergine and Parmesan gratin: Parmigiani di melanzane

  • Aubergine and Parmesan gratin

Aubergine and Parmesan gratin: Parmigiani di melanzane

Aubergines are quite plentiful at this time of year. One of the most delicious, colourful and mouthwatering ways of preparing them is in this traditional Italian dish. Fabio’s twist is to add a smoked cheese to the mix adding a subtle flavour. Fabio also deep frys his aubergine slices which makes them almost melt away in the final baking. This really does not add much oil to the dish but if you prefer you can griddle the slices instead.

Serve the dish straight from the oven or just warm, either as an antipasti or a main dish with a side salad or chips or both! If you have any leftovers, which is unlikely this dish works well the next day as a cold lunch or reheats nicely in the microwave.

Parmigiani di melanzane Aubergine and Parmesan gratin

✳  3 aubergines, sliced into 1cm slices

✳  “00” flour with a little semolina added for bite

✳  250g mozzarella cheese chopped into very small cubes

✳  200g grated Parmesan
For the tomato sauce

✳  1lt passata

✳  one finely chopped onion

✳  olive oil

✳  salt

Make the tomato sauce by frying the onion in oil until transparent not brown, add the passata and cook for 10 minutes, salt to taste. Leave to cool. For the aubergines, salt each slice well and leave to drain in a colander for a minimum of a hour, longer if possible. Shake off excess water and toss the slices in fine flour, shake off excess flour and deep fry

in sunflower oil at 200C, remove each slice as they colour golden. Drain on kitchen roll. Leave to cool.

In a rectangular disposable foil dish use a spoon to coat the bottom of the dish with a little tomato sauce, add a layer of fried aubergine, cut into shapes to make a complete layer with no gaps, coat with thin layer of tomato sauce, sprinkle with mozzarella chunks and then grated Parmesan. Repeat with further layers of aubergine, sauce, and cheeses until all the aubergine is used. Top with a thick layer of tomato sauce. Cook in a hot oven 220C for 20 minutes, cover with foil for 10 minutes then remove to allow the surface to brown and crisp slightly. Leave for 30 minutes to cool and cut with a sharp knife into serving squares 5x5cm. This is best served as one of a variety of antipasti or as a main dish with a good salad and perhaps a few chips!.