- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 – 2 large eggplants
- 2 eggs, whisked
- ½ – 1 cup plain flour for dredging
- salt and pepper
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 2 x 500ml jars of Three Birds Sugo
- 200 – 250g grated mozzarella cheese
- bunch of fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 180C.
Slice eggplants into ½ inch rounds. Sprinkle a little salt over each eggplant slice and place in a colander, let drain for 1 hour. Gently press each eggplant slice between paper towels to squeeze out any excess water, pat dry and wipe away excess salt.
Note: Salting the eggplant draws the moisture out and helps to mask its bitter taste.
In three shallow bowls/plates – add the whisked eggs to one of them, spread some flour in another (add ½ cup of flour first and then add more as required) and spread the breadcrumbs seasoned with some salt and pepper into the other.
Crumbing the eggplants – Dredge each eggplant slice in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the floured eggplant into the egg mixture, turning well to coat both sides evenly and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Then lay the eggplant in the plate of breadcrumbs, turn to coat both sides, pressing down gently into the breadcrumbs so that it adheres well to the eggplant.
Note: Crumbing the eggplants add a layer of texture and stops it from disintegrating when it bakes.
Shallow frying the crumbed eggplant – Heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan so that it comes to about 1cm up the sides. Add in enough eggplant slices to fit the pan without overcrowding and cook over medium heat, turning once until golden brown and crispy on both sides (about 2-3 minutes each side). Remove the fried eggplant to a plate lined with paper towels and repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Add more oil to the frying pan as necessary during cooking.
Heat the sugo in a saucepan.
Preparing and cooking the eggplant parmiginana – In an oven baking dish (a 2 litre or larger capacity dish, enough to fit all eggplants), ladle in some sugo to cover the bottom of the dish and sprinkle in some mozzarella. Add a layer of fried eggplant and place a few basil leaves on top of the eggplant. Ladle in some sugo over the eggplant and sprinkle over a layer of mozzarella. Repeat. The final layer should be mozzarella.
Note: The fried eggplant can be layered in the baking dish in any manner. Layering the eggplant slices directly on top of each other provides a neat stack for serving.
Cover the baking dish loosely with foil that has some holes poked into it. Bake for 30 minutes, then uncover the baking dish and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top later of cheese is golden.
Use a knife to slice/separate the eggplant parmigiana into serving portions. Garnish with a few leaves of fresh basil.