Parmigiana in Southern Italy is like a religion. In fact that may be where it’s Puglian origins lie as it’s traditionally eaten on the eve of St. Oronzo a religious festival that takes place in Lecce every August. Although it is eaten very widely in Puglia there seems to be lots of mystery surrounding the roots of this dish with Sicily, Campania and Naples all claiming it as their own. Well, wherever it came from I know it’s delicious and it is always devoured very rapidly whenever I make it at home. Lots of people seem to have different takes on this dish, but this is the way I like, adapted from my Italian aunties recipe. I have to say it’s minus the meat, I prefer mine without it.
2 Large aubergines
150g Plain flour
Large ball of Mozzarella
For the sauce
1 Garlic clove
2 Tins good quality chopped tomatoes
150g Tomato puree
1 tbsp Sugar
Salt and pepper
Method Oven 180C
- Make to sauce by frying the onion in some olive oil, then add the garlic and fry a little. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar and salt and pepper. Fill each empty tomato tin with ¾ water and add to the sauce. Stir and bring to the boil then turn it down to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour until sauce has thickened up.
- Slice the aubergines lengthways as thinly as you can (around 3-4 mm).
- Break the eggs into a bowl and add a little seasoning, then beat with a fork.
- Cover the slices of aubergine with some flour then into dip into the egg and shallow fry in olive oil. Continue to do this until all the slices are fried.
- Assemble the Parmigiana in alternative layers of tomato sauce, fried aubergine, basil leaves, mozzarella and grated parmesan until all the ingredients are used up. Make sure to leave enough tomato sauce to cover the top nicely. Finish off by grating parmesan over the top.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until the sauce bubbles at edges and the cheese has melted.