Parmigiana in Bianco
Eggplant are a bit out of season, but we’re in ‘merica, so you can find most vegetables all year round. I can’t say that this is a good thing, they usually lack flavor since they were grown in a greenhouse, but certainly convenient, and we are a culture of convenience. These eggplant were bought in season and from a farm that isn’t too far from where we live. Needless to say I have been distracted with other things, right now I think doing things that bring joy to myself, and hopefully others is the only way to move forward. This parmigiana was such a great find, hidden away in one of my Italian cookbooks from Puglia.
Dreaming of Puglia, we made this for the occasion of a dinner with friends who we met when we were living there. This was the first time we had invited them over for dinner and it was important that we made something Italian and specifically Pugliese. Instead of leaning on your typical primo, I decided to make a meal of antipasti, which were really special and abundant in Puglia.
It was always a delicious surprise when going to a new restaurant to try the antipasti della casa, even if you knew that you would end up too full for the pasta course or the main course. For our feast I prepared this parmigiana, along with a number of other antipasti. I had never had a parmigiana in bianco before and was worried when I made it that it would be bland, or dry, I was completely mistaken, it was none of those things and it is a recipe that I will be making again.
adapted and translated from Ricette di osterie della Puglia. Mare, erbe e fornelli Slow Food Editor
- 2 eggplant
- a few springs of Italian parsley, chopped
- a fistful of bread crumbs
- 2 mozzarella around 1 lb
- 3.5 oz grated aged Pecorino
- extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- salt and pepper to taste
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch medallions, sprinkle each slice with salt and set in a colander to sweat. The sweating not only releases the water, but takes away its bitterness. Leave the medallions to sweat for about 30 minutes.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, with a basting brush, brush each medallion with olive oil, this is the best way to apply it, let the medallions grill on both sides, pressing them to release their water and to cook evenly. Once they have been grilled on both sides, remove them to a plate and continue until you have grilled all of the eggplant. This can also be done on an outdoor grill.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Grease a small casserole with olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs to cover. Place part of the eggplant on the bottom of the casserole in a single layer, followed by a layer of mozzarella slices, sprinkle with the grated pecorino, breadcrumbs, salt, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat until you have used up all of the ingredients, layering them on top of each other and covering the top layer with the pecorino, bread crumbs and the parsley. Drizzle with additional olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes, serve the parmigiana hot.
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