The way my grandmother made eggplant parmigiana is noting like you get today. First she never breaded the eggplant. Second she did not use mozzarella cheese.
No mozzarella cheese??? How can it be eggplant parmigiana without mozzarella cheese?
If it were called eggplant mozzarella than I can see you asking that. But it’s called eggplant parmigiana for a reason, because it should be made with plenty of Parmigiana cheese. Americans added Mozzarella cheese to this dish, along with anything else they call “Parmigiana”.
So this is a true eggplant Parmigiana the way my grandmother made it many years ago. It’s simple, authentic and very delicious. My mother remembers my grandmother making this when she was a little girl and always raved about it. The taste of the eggplant really comes out without being hidden by all that breading. The secret to this dish is fresh ingredients and use a good Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Grandma’s Eggplant Parmigiana
- 2 large eggplant
- Kosher salt
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 can of Italian Peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- oil for frying
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- pinch of oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Wash and slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Lightly sprinkle each side with salt and lay in a colander. Place a plate on top of the eggplant with a weight on top and allow to drain for at least an hour.
Wipe off the moisture on each eggplant with a paper towel. Heat a large skillet with an inch of oil and fry the slices till golden brown on each side. Add more oil as needed. Place the cooked eggplant on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil. Place a layer of paper towel between each layer of eggplant to get as much oil out as possible.
In a large sauce pan heat the two tablespoon of olive oil and saute the garlic for a minute or two. Puree the can of peeled tomatoes and add to the pan. Add basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper (use less salt than you normally would) and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
In a baking dish or Pyrex pan place a thin layer of tomatoe sauce on the bottom to just cover the pan.
Add a layer of eggplant, spread some more sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle a 1/4 cup of Parmigiana cheese over the top.
Repeat the process till all the eggplant is used up and end with a layer of sauce with a good sprinkle of Parmigiana cheese.
Bake in a 375 degree oven uncovered for 20 minutes or until sauce bubbles. Cool slightly before serving.
Make sure you have plenty of Italian bread for this.