Having recently come across the description of Parmigiana di Melanzane as a typical dish from Northern Italy, I could not keep quiet about the true origins of this wonderful summer dish! I am sure that every Sicilian proudly knows that it is part of the island cultural heritage and that every cookbook lists it as one of the specialties from Sicily together with cannoli and cassata.
Here it is the recipe for all those of you who want to bring a little bit of Sicily into their kitchens (quantities for a medium tray).
4 x Medium aubergines (eggplants)
2 x Cans of tomatoes
2 x Garlic cloves
1 x Red onion
2 x handfuls of basil leaves
200gm – 300gm grated pecorino cheese
Make the tomato sauce by simmering gently for at least 30 minutes the tomatoes in a pan together with the onion halved and the whole garlic cloves; season with the basil leaves and some salt.
Slice the aubergines – 1cm thick – and pass them in flour. Remove any excess of flour and then fry them – 4/5 at the time – in hot vegetable oil. When they are tender drain them and leave them to rest on kitchen paper for a few minutes. Sprinkle some salt over them.
Spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the tray.
Arrange a layer of aubergine slices, cover with tomato sauce and the grated pecorino. Repeat this process until you have used up all the ingredients ending with a layer of sauce and pecorino on top which will crisp up under the grill.
Make sure you arrange your slices in a lattice pattern.
Bake in the oven at 200C for 30 minutes and under the grill for the last 5 minutes.