Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eggplant Parmesan

I think I've mentioned before that we went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy for our honeymoon.  Jon's brothers and sister gave us the extremely creative and generous gift of a day at Mamma Agata's Cooking School.  An experience unlike any other, we spent the entire day cooking, drinking wine, walking through their hillside gardens, and eating a gourmet meal.  At the end of the day, we were given a cookbook of the recipes we made, to recreate at home.  One of our favorite dishes was the Eggplant Parmesan.  While I will never find ingredients parallel to hers (tomatoes warmed in the sun on the Italian coast are spectacular), I have modified the recipe a bit to make it my own.

Eggplant Parmesan
inspired by Mamma Agata

2-3 medium eggplants (or 5-6 small)
kosher salt
14 or 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
basil and oregano
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz. smoked gouda, sliced
parmesan cheese, for grating

1. Peel the eggplant into zebra stripes, and slice lengthwise.  Partially peeling the eggplant leaves enough skin to keep it from falling apart, but takes away some of the toughness.
2. In a colander, layer eggplant slices and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Allow to sit over the sink for at least an hour. The salt draws out some of the liquid and bitterness.
3. Mamma Agata fries her eggplant, and while that can be delicious, I usually roast mine.  Lay the eggplant slices in a single layer on baking sheets topped with parchment paper, foil, or cooking spray.  I use parchment and give it a quick shot of spray.  Roast at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until they are browned and softened.

4. Meanwhile, make your tomato sauce.  Mine was a simple mixture of crushed tomatoes, garlic, and fresh basil and oregano.  You can use jarred sauce of course, but I'm cheap, and homemade tastes better anyway.
5. Begin layering your dish.  In the bottom of a baking dish, spread a thin layer of sauce.  Layer eggplant slices, mozzarella, gouda, parmesan, and basil.  We aren't shy about cheese in this dish.  That what makes it so good.  Add more sauce and repeat as many times as you can depending on the size of your dish.  On the top layer, spread the sauce and sprinkle with only parmesan cheese.

6. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, increase the heat to 400 for 10 minutes, and then turn off the oven and let it sit for 10 more minutes.  After removing, allow to sit for 30 minutes to completely blend the flavors.  You can skip that step, but it won't be as good.

Eat it and pretend you're in Italy.
Lemon Grove at Mamma Agata's, Ravello, Italy


  1. eggplant parm is my all time FAV .... I am the only one in my family that likes it so, I stalk menus for it. This looks absolutely amazing. I want a piece for breakfast.

  2. woww.. Yummmm :) Will surely try this . Thank you


photo 1-1 photo 1-2