Thursday, April 21, 2011

Melanzane Parmigiano, alla ristorante (Eggplant Parmesan, Restaurant Style)

Melanzane Parmigiano, alla ristorante
(Eggplant Parmesan, Restaurant Style)
4 to 6 servings

This is a slightly different way to handle this Italian classic.  Normally Melanzane Parmigiano is composed of many layers of interlaced thin slices of eggplant, sauce, and cheese but I found that it was too easy to loose the taste of the eggplant and cheese in the breading.  This method reduces the layers to two slightly thicker layers of eggplant which brings the flavours of the eggplant,  sauce, and the cheeses to the fore-front, it also makes for a nicer, more professional looking presentation.


2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/4 pounds), cut length-wise into 1/8 to 1/4-inch-thick  long slices
1 cup salt,  sufficient for sprinkling over the eggplant slices
3 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup flour
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup oil for frying
1 large egg, beaten
7 cups  spicy tomato sauce
grated Parmesan
12 to 24  round slices of Provolone


1.  Arrange some of the eggplant slices in a layer in a colander placed over dish and sprinkle very generously all over with salt, add another layer of slices and sprinkle very generously with salt, repeat this layering until all the slices have been used. Set aside to let the bitter juices weep from the eggplant into the dish below, about 1 hour.  Discard the bitter liquid captured in the dish.

2.  Rinse the eggplant well under cold running water to remove all the salt. Transfer eggplant to a work surface and blot very dry with paper towels.

3.  Set up a breading station by placing the flour in on paper plate, the beaten egg in another, and the breadcrumbs in a third.  One at a time, dredge the slice first in the flour shaking off excess, then in the egg, and finally in the breadcrumb. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the breaded eggplant slices to another dish. Repeat until all the remaining eggplant slices have been breaded. 

4.  In a large straight-sided skillet, pour the oil to a depth of about ½-inch. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350° F on a deep frying thermometer. 

5.  Working in small batches, fry the breaded eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the remaining eggplant slices have been fried.

6.  Arrange half the eggplant slices on a foil  lined cookie sheet, leaving about an  inch between slices.  Spread about 1/4 cup of spicy tomato sauce over each individual eggplant slice, sprinkle lightly with Parmesan,  on top of this place 1 or 2 slices of provolone  and top each with another eggplant slice, additional parmesan, additional ¼-cup of tomato sauce, and 1 or 2 slices of provolone.

7.  Place the oven rack  to its highest position and turn oven to broil.  When the broiler comes on place the cookie sheet on the rake and broil until  the cheese  is bubbly and begins to brown slightly. 

8.  Place each individual stack of eggplant, sauce, and cheese on separate serving dishes  and serve immediately with accompanied by  additional tomato sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.

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