This is the famous recipe "Parmigiana di Melanzane", and though you are going to find many different versions on the net, i am posting here the one i make when i have been so lucky to get the spicy dry sausage Salsiccia Napoli imported from Italy - rarely available in India, though "pepperoni", the italian-american version of the original italian variety of salami, is a popular pizza topping also in India.
However salsiccia and boiled eggs are optional, mostly used in Calabria, and parmigiana can be made simply with eggplants, tomato sauce, basil and mozzarella or any melting cheese, like Cheddar, if you live in India.
Ingredients for 2 or 3 people [me, myself and chamki]:
- 1 big eggplant
- 2 boiled eggs cut in three slices each
- few slices of Salsiccia Napoli piccante [sausage with chili] or even better Calabria [not available here]
- minced onion, garlic, parsley,
- Italian tomato puree
- fresh basil [today i used the dry one but sometimes i get the fresh too]
- grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Mozzarella or any melting cheese - here only Cheddar
- breadcrumbs for the tray's bottom and the topping
- Slice the eggplant [no need to peel it] the size you like, even thinner than mine. Usually you need to fry the eggplants slices after salting them to remove the bitterness but most of the time i just roast them to reduce calories intake.
- You can fry the eggplant slices or you can roast them on a griddle [any heavy bottomed iron pan without any fat - the Indian tawa is perfect, it does not stick].
- Make the tomato sauce: Mince onion, garlic and parsley and sauté with extra virgin olive oil. Add the Italian tomato puree and stir until the oil separate, then pour some water to make it quite fluid and let cook for about one hour to thicken the sauce.
- Prepare the oven tray with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil and breadcrumbs. Add few spoons of tomato sauce not evenly spread, just here and there.
- Place the first layer of eggplant slices, one next the other one.
- On top of each slice place tomato sauce, one slice of egg, one of cheddar or mozzarella, one of salsiccia and a basil leaf. Spread grated Parmigiano evenly and make the second layer.
- Cover with the third layer of eggplant slices and top with tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, grated Parmigiano and a bit of butter to help the golden crust.
- Place in the oven at medium/high temperature 170°C/370F for about 30/40 minutes.
- Let it cool at room temperature before eating [if you can].