Aubergine Parmigiana


This is the 2nd dish which I had served for the lunch event at The Simpler Living. I was browsing thru' my recipe repertoire for a suitable side after the egg and cheese dish, but couldn't find any. Somehow or rather, this dish just popped into my head. My theme is to cook something very simple with the use of mainly vegetables; I dislike the way how some restaurants over-charge customers with fanciful seafood, caviar or truffles. Great food doesn't have to be expensive and fancy. It just needed to be done right, don't you agree? Here're some shots at the dish which I made at the event.

This is actually like lasagna; a dish to be placed in the middle of a dinner table where everyone can just grab their share. It is meant to be messy. But Chef Oliver Glowig turned the dish into something elegant. Yes, this recipe is inspired by him. Now, the question is, can I take this to another level? I somehow thought of a way, which is by smoking the aubergine parmigiana while it is baking. I also added liquid smoke into the tomatoes sauce to give it that extra oomph.

You must be wondering why smoking the dish? Chef Oliver Glowig uses a combination of fresh mozzarella, parmigiano and scamorza. Scamorza is a special kinda dried smoked mozzarella available in Italy. I can't find it anywhere here in Singapore, so I have to improvised. And I am glad to say that it turned out wonderful. I am not saying that mine is on par with Chef Oliver Glowig's, but this is the best version I have created so far. Why don't you give this recipe a try?

Ingredients:

Inspired By Oliver Glowig

(Serve 4)

  • Tomato Sauce:

  • Alce Nero's Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 Cup

  • Chili Flakes, Pinch

  • Garlic Thinly Sliced, 3 Cloves

  • Fresh Basil, 5 Whole Large Leaves

  • Canned Tomatoes Preferably Fire Roasted, 14oz

  • Liquid Smoke, 1/2 TSP

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Aubergine:

  • Eggplant, 2 Large

  • Bleached All Purpose Flour, For Dredging

  • Sea Salt, Pinch

  • Black Pepper, Pinch

  • Dried Mushroom Powder, Pinch

  • Eggs Lightly Beaten, 2

  • Canola / Peanut / Grapeseed / Vegetable Oil, For Frying

  • Assembly:

  • Fresh Mozzarella, 1 Ball or More

  • Fresh Basil Finely Chiffonade, A Handful

  • Parmigiano Reggiano Freshly Grated, 2 TBSP

  • Dried Basil, Pinch

Equipment:

  • Oven

  • Sauce Pot

  • Cast Iron Skillet

  • Blender

  • 2" Round Cookie Cutter

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tomato sauce.

  2. In a skillet over low heat, add olive oil, chili, garlic and basil.

  3. The oil should be barely sizzling.

  4. *If the heat is too high, the garlic and basil will burnt.*

  5. As soon as the garlic turns light golden brown, remove from heat and transfer into a blender.

  6. Add in tomatoes and liquid smoke.

  7. Lightly blitz to form a coarse smooth sauce.

  8. Taste and adjust for seasonings with salt and pepper.

  9. Transfer into a bowl and set aside.

  10. Prepare the aubergine.

  11. Peel the skin from the eggplants.

  12. Slice into 1/2 inches thick slices.

  13. Using a cookie cutter, cut out round discs.

  14. *Do not discard any scrapes. You can bake them until they almost fall apart, blitz them in a blender with a touch of fresh lemon juice and olive oil to make eggplant puree. It goes well on a toast.*

  15. For 1 serving, you need 3 discs of eggplant.

  16. Lightly season the eggplant with sea salt.

  17. Transfer onto a wire cooling rack and let them sit for about 30 mins.

  18. This will draw out the moisture from the eggplant, thus removing the raw bitterness.

  19. While the eggplant slices are sitting, finely julienne the skins into fine strips.

  20. Add about 1 inch of oil into a skillet over medium heat.

  21. Transfer flour, salt, pepper and mushroom powder into a shallow bowl.

  22. Mix to combine well.

  23. Transfer eggs into a shallow bowl.

  24. *You can check the temperature of the oil by inserting a wooden chopstick. If bubbles start to form around the chopstick it is ready.*

  25. Lightly dredge the eggplant into the flour mixture.

  26. Dust off any excess.

  27. Dredge into the egg.

  28. And gently drop the eggplant away from you into the oil.

  29. Pan fry until golden brown on both sides.

  30. Remove from heat and transfer onto a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  31. Repeat the process for the remaining eggplant.

  32. Lastly, pan fry the skins as well.

  33. Once they start to crisp up, remove from heat and sit on a wire cooling rack or on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

  34. Set aside.

  35. To assemble.

  36. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius or 350 fahrenheit.

  37. Line parchment paper on a baking tray.

  38. Lay a piece of the battered eggplant onto the tray.

  39. Spoon the tomatoes sauce onto the eggplant.

  40. Tear a piece of mozzarella and place it on top of the sauce.

  41. Scatter the basil over the top.

  42. Repeat the stacking process of eggplant, sauce, cheese and basil.

  43. On the 3rd slice of eggplant, sprinkle some parmigiano over the top.

  44. Repeat the process for the remaining eggplant.

  45. Wack into the oven.

  46. Lit some fire wood chips in a bowl, I used charcoal, and wack into the oven as well.

  47. Bake for about 10 to 15 mins or until the cheese has melted.

  48. Remove from oven.

  49. Spoon some of the sauce onto serving plates and place the baked eggplant stack over the sauce.

  50. Sprinkle some dried basil over the top.

  51. Lastly, add some of that fried eggplant skins on top.

  52. Serve immediately.

#eggplant #aubergine #aubergineparmigiana

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