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In spite of its name, this dish did not originate in Parma. Campania and Sicily both claim it as their own, but it is in Sicily, where it is known simply as parmigiana, that it is most commonly found, both in homes and restaurants. Its resemblance to the moussaka of Greece and Turkey is interesting (a different type of cheese is used, and the ground meat and some oriental flavors such as cinnamon are missing).
- 4 medium eggplants
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 sprig basil
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
- All-purpose flour, for coating
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 8 ounces mozzarella, sliced
- 2 eggs, hard-cooked, shelled and thinly sliced
Cut the eggplants into thin slices, lay them on a cutting board, sprinkle with salt and place the board at a slant for at least 1 hour so that the bitter juices run off.
Meanwhile, put a stewpan on the heat with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and a few basil leaves. Fry gently for 3 or 4 minutes over low heat until the onion is golden. Add the tomatoes and salt to taste; cook for 30 minutes. Put the mixture through a food mill and reserve in a bowl.
Rinse the eggplant slices to remove the salt and dry with paper towels. Coat the eggplant slices with flour. Fry them in a large skillet in the remaining oil, which should be very hot, until golden.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a baking dish and arrange a layer of the eggplant slices on the bottom. Scatter Parmesan and slices of mozzarella on top. Add some sliced egg and a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Cover with a second layer of eggplant slices, top with Parmesan, mozzarella and tomato sauce as before, and continue in this manner until all the ingredients have been used. Cover the last layer with tomato sauce and scatter with a few more basil leaves.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. The parmigiana is considered to be perfect when it is just lukewarm, but it can also be served hot or cold.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
1433 calories; 128g total fat; 153mg cholesterol; 754mg sodium; 45g carbohydrates; 16g fiber; 35g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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