A Taste of Autumn.. Aubergine Parmigiana

OO&L Aubergine Parnigiana

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This is a dish that we often have and I have worked on this recipe for many years before declaring myself satisfied. I lay the blame for all the work firmly at the feet of an 80 year old grandfather of the family whose farmhouse we stayed at in Italy a number of years ago. He prepared what has to have been the most amazing melanzane parmigiana I have ever tasted in my life. I wasn’t home long before I started trying to recreate it – I have to say that it has never been quite as delicious as that one but there is something magical about the Italian countryside which probably colors my memories. This one is still good enough to ensure the plates will be licked clean. If you don’t have any pesto, it will still be good but with the pesto it is elevated to the status of absolutely yummy.

Aubergine Parmigiana – a delicious meat free dish, full of great flavours, with many essential B-complex vitamins, minerals all offering potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases.

Oven at 170C
Feeds 4

3-4 small/medium or 2 large Aubergine
6 tbsp Polenta or more if needed to coat each slice
6 tbsp Oil for frying

1 large bottle of tomato passata (I use Bunalun organic)
4 tbsp basil pesto

1 round of mozzarella
2 oz grated parmesan
1 10″ by 8″ dish

Wash, top and tail the aubergine and cut into long slices about 5mm thick
Line a large bowl with the slices, sprinkle with lots of salt and allow to drain.
(This is a really handy method as the liquid all drains into the bottom of the bowl)
Wipe with a piece of kitchen paper
Tip polenta onto a flat plate
Press both sides of aubergine into polenta to coat
Heat the oil to hot and
fry the aubergine in batches
Don’t overcrowd and you may need to wipe out the pan between batches
Drain on absorbent paper

Stir the pesto into the tomato pasasta
Cover the base of your dish with some of the sauce
Press a layer of aubergine into the sauce
Season and sprinkle over some of the mozzarella,
Cover with more sauce.
Continue until you have no more aubergine
Finish with sauce and the Parmesan cheese

Bake at 170C covered for 30 minutes
Uncover and bake for the final 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted, the top is golden brown.

9 thoughts on “A Taste of Autumn.. Aubergine Parmigiana

  1. Hi Grainne , Anne Hayden here . the aub parm is my favourite and i got recipe from friend from Calabria who’s Mama was v v v reluctant to share ! It’s very similar to the one you have except wanted to ask is Polenta necessary instead of flour if I have to buy it especially. Also how long do you drain the slices for before frying. Mama Italia said 8-12 hours which is mental. I usually only do 1 hour…. I want to try yours because the pesto addition (her recipe is simply fresh basil) will def make it nicer !Bill’s b day tmw so going to make it from your recipe.

    1. Hi Anne, great to hear from you. I drain them for about 20 minutes, overnight does sound mental to me as I’d have though the slices would go totally black after that long! The polenta can be replaced by flour BUT the polenta adds a taste and texture which I think is much better that the flour..let me know how you get on…

  2. Looks gorgeous! Sorry to be one of those ingredient substitution people, but wonder if it would work with courgettes/marrows too? I have a bit of a glut of them at the minute.

    1. Definitely, and don’t forget peppers too, they don’t need to be salted but are equally gorgeous included in this with the courgettes or aubergines.
      Enjoy and let me know what you think!

      1. Grainne, have been meaning to get back to you for ages on this recipe! I ended up using all my marrows in a chutney, so tried this out with aubergines and it was delicious. Might try out the marrows in the late summer when they’re plentiful again.

      2. Hi Lisa, that’s so good to hear. Im jealous to hear of your home growing too, Im in a constant battle with the snails and have given up except for the hardiest herbs!.

  3. Hi Grainne, just tried this dish today and now looking forward to taking it out of oven, I have a question, could you advise how do aubergine fry for you on the pan, mine seems to pick all the oil and rest is dry then and it takes forever, when i add oil it drys fast but i don’t want to use that much oil, how do you do that you don’t use too much oil? don’t want the dish tone soggy with oil , there will be plenty of calories in cheese already!

    1. sorry for the late reply but I have been out of commission on the site for a while due to a techie problem. As regards the oil, use a good quality one like a good rape seed oil. – I do dust the slices in polenta to aid with the crunch but it isnt absolutely essential. I actually fry mine on the griddle pan when I dont have polenta which keeps them out of oil but gives lovely griddle flavour. Alternatively I suggest you brush the slices with oil rather than filing the pan and this will minimise the amount you use. Also dont have your pan too hot!. Hope this helps….also and I guess you know this, but this isnt the dish to make if you need to minimise the calories on a particular day – I usually keep this dish for a weekend after we have had a good long family walk. 🙂

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