Recipe: Melanzane Alla Parmigiana…with a twist!
Melanzane Alla Parmigiana…a slight variation, with finocchiona (fennel salami) layered amongst the aubergines
This recipe forms a competition entry for the To Tuscany website…I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas!
– 3 large aubergines
– Olive oil
– 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
– 3 tins (1,200g) of good quality chopped tomatoes
– 1 tablespoon of tomato puree
– 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
– Handful of fresh oregano
– 1 teaspoon of sugar
– 300g of mozzarella, sliced thinly
– 200g of Parmesan, grated (save 50g of this for the topping)
– 75g of sliced finocchiona (fennel salami)
– 50g of breadcrumbs
– Fresh basil to finish
1. Top and tail the aubergines, and cut lengthways into slices half a centimetre thick. Sprinkle each slice with salt and put in a colander to drain off the liquid for about half an hour.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan on a medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute, before adding the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and red wine vinegar. Bring to the boil, then add the sugar, oregano and a little salt, before reducing the heat and simmering for 45 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place a frying pan on a high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rinse the aubergine slices thoroughly and pat them dry, and fry in batches on both sides until golden brown, placing them on kitchen towel when cooked to drain off the moisture. You’ll need to add more olive oil from time to time, as the aubergines will soak it up…
4. Grease a large baking dish lightly with olive oil, and start to assemble the dish! Start with a thin layer of the tomato sauce, and top this with a layer of aubergine slices, making sure they are tightly packed. Dot slices of mozzarella across the aubergines, and tear pieces of finocchiona and lay them on top (not too densely, as the flavour is quite intense). Add a layer of the grated Parmesan, and repeat – finishing with a layer of tomato sauce. Bear in mind that you may not use all of the sauce…but save any leftovers and enjoy with pasta!
5. Mix the remaining 50g of Parmesan with the breadcrumbs and add enough olive oil to give it a crumble-like consistency. Add this mixture to the top of the dish, and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top.
6. Before serving, scatter torn basil leaves across the top of the dish. Server as a side dish or starter, or with a green salad or crusty bread as a main.
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