Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Aubergine Parmigiana

melanzane parmigiana

I've just finished reading Game of Mirrors by Andrea Camilleri, and as always, it's not just the plot that I find riveting, it's numerous food descriptions which make me want run to the kitchen and cook-cook-cook.
Being an Inspector Montalbano book, it's full of foodie references and descriptions. There are famous arancini cooked by one and only Adelina. They are basically a food of Gods, according to the Inspector.
"At Enzo's he gorged himself. A variety of antipasti, spaghetti in squid ink, a sampling of pasta in clam sauce, and a main course of fried red mullet (actually two generous helpings)". Well, that sounds delicious too. I'm very fond of squid ink pasta, and also clam pasta, though I don't think I could eat both in one sitting.
There's the sartu (the baked rice dish with lots of ingredients like pork, beef, peas, meatballs, eggs, salami, tomato sauce, provolone and pecorino cheeses, bread crumbs, onions and so on), "the involtini, and a big dish of chicory so bitter it seemed poisonous". Cannoli are mentioned more than once.
Pasta alla carrettiera has piqued my interest, and I might try to recreate it one day. According to the notes in the book, it is a simple dish of pasta with a spicy tomato sauce containing a great deal of garlic, hot pepper and parsley.
On one of the evenings, Salvo found a casserole of pasta 'ncasiata and a nice platter of fried shrimp and calamari. Pasta 'ncasiata features in several Montalbano books, and I have already cooked it - see my recipe post of Pasta 'ncasiata.
There were more recipes to be found:
"He went home. Adelina had prepared a big platter of aubergine Parmigiana. He savoured it on the veranda, eating it slowly to allow the flavour on the palate enough time to reach his heart, brain and soul."

Aubergine Parmigiana or Melanzane Parmigiana is a meat-free dish. It is not a vegetarian recipe as such, since parmesan and mozzarella are not vegetarian cheeses, but you can find a vegetarian mozzarella and parmesan-style cheese.

melanzane parmigiana

Aubergine Parmigiana
3 medium sized aubergines
3tbsp olive oil + More for the grill
2 clove of garlic
4 sage leaves
1/2tsp dried thyme
6 basil leaves
1 tin of Cirio Tuscan chopped tomatoes
1 tin of Cirio plum tomatoes
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp caster sugar
250g mozzarella (2 packs of 125g)
40g parmesan
2tbsp breadcrumbs

First wash and pat dry the aubergines. I don't peel them. Slice lengthways, using a knife or a mandolin slicer into slices about 5mm thin.
In a deep frying pan, fry finely chopped garlic, sage and basil in the olive oil, stirring for about 5 minutes. Add the contents of two tins of tomatoes. I used two different types, but pick just one if you prefer. You will still need two tins. Add the dried thyme, balsamic vinegar, sugar and bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer on low for about half an hour.
In the meantime, grill the thinly sliced aubregine on the well oiled grill pan. Grill on both sides until cooked through.
Assemble your parmigiana in a deep oiled ceramic dish: first a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce, then a layer of aubergine slices, followed by one third of torn mozzarella. More sauce, aubergine and mozzarella until all the slices finish. Top up with more tomato sauce. Bake at 180C for about half an hour. Add the grated parmesan mixed with the pine nuts and breadcrumbs on top of the bake for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serve hot, with fresh salad.

In this recipe I used two tins of Cirio chopped and plum tomatoes which work perfectly as a base for a tomato sauce. If you cannot find Cirio, any good quality tinned tomatoes will do.

melanzane parmigiana

I haven't done #ReadCookEat linky for the last couple of months, so apologies if you might have missed it.
What do you mean you didn't even notice it was absent? Tut tut.

Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

I hope you are inspired by books to join in our #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a book, either a world classic or modern fiction, or even memoirs and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email me with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).

I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+


  1. My mum makes the best parmigiana di melanzane ever.. sadly, not anymore as we're all watching the calories, but the memories of eating it especially in the summer, cold maybe.. oh so good! Your recipe is quite different from ours, which is interesting

  2. I haven't heard of this recipe, it looks lovely so I must try it. I haven't read any of these books either but there are loads of recipes mentioned! The books I have read recently are devoid of food