As it is getting warmer outside, even here up North, I’m really getting in the mood of just going to a beach, having a cocktail, falling asleep on the side of the sea… and trying not to get completely sunburnt. This still needs to wait at least a few weeks, so for the meantime at least my kitchen got a mediterranean atmosphere – welcome to the second Italian post!
Parmigiana di melanzane. Doesn’t it just sound delicious already? My Italian cook was Marco this time. He’s from the lovely city of Pisa, currently doing his PhD here in Groningen. Greatly talented in acting, in improv, in playing with words in any way – and apparently also quite a good cook! This is one of his favorite dishes, and I think from now on also one if mine – and at the end of trying this meal yours as well. Let’s get is started!
Grab an eggplant, and slice it up, not too thin. If you have the time then squeeze the juice out of the slices as well – we were way too hungry and skipped this step, so it works without as well. Also chop your onion. Then heat up two pans, one with a lot of oil, the other only with a few drops. Two slices of smashed garlic and your onion go in your lighter pan, and another piece of garlic should dive into the massive amount of oil in the other one. Now put some flour on a plate, and floppp your eggplant slices in it – coat both sides nicely. These white pieces can follow the piece of garlic in the oil swim. Each needs a few minutes to fry, so just keep repeating the same process – and when done, salt them well. Don’t forget about the other pan! You can pour the tomato sauce on the fried onion. Add salt, pepper, thyme, basil and a tiny bit of oil to it as well. Also, preheat your oven to 180 degrees on convection mode. While your eggplant is frying and sauce is boiling, take care of your mozzarellas. First, squeeze the milk out of each, then slice it up. You have all ingredients ready now!
Only the layering is left! Grab a frying pan, and pour a bit of oil on the bottom. A layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese. A layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese. A layer of… nahh, you get it. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Afterwards turn the oven off, but leave it inside for another 20 minutes, so the sauce has time to cool down and to gain a more thick texture. This baking part takes quite some time, I know, but it is totally worth it!
We ate this all. All of it. ALL! THE TWO OF US! So if you are making this with friends, get multiple eggplants! And we also watched Game of Thrones while eating, but I do not recommend this part – either before of after. If the show gets you into a bad mood, think of Marco who is kind, funny and always talks to you with a smile on his face! Or look for him on the streets of Groningen, that might be an even better idea!
Thank you for cooking, Marco, and buon appetito to all of you!