It comes from Asia, but it has been grown in Italy for centuries. Initially introduced into Sicily by the Arabs, between the fourth and the fifth centuries, eggplant has since then thrived throughout the Mediterranean basin, thanks to its mild climate, becoming a staple food in the diet of Italians, Greeks, Spanish and French. That, in short, is the history of eggplant, an oblong or round vegetable, smooth and shiny, strange and beautiful, in different shades ranging from purple to white. Sliced, diced, or cut into strips, grilled, cooked in tomato sauce, fried or au gratin, eggplant can be enjoyed as a side dish, or become the basic ingredient for rich and nourishing recipes. Here is a particularly savoury variant of the classic eggplant Parmigiana: Bertazzoni Style Eggplant!
Ingredients (serve 6 people)
8 ripe tomatoes
5 oz (150 g) Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
5 oz (150 g) Caciocavallo cheese, sliced
2 cloves of garlic
extra-virgin olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
finely chopped basil, to taste
Clean the eggplants without eliminating the skin, cut them into slices, and leave to dry under salt for at least half an hour, then pat them dry with paper towels. Boil 5 eggs, until they are hard-boiled, shell them and cut into slices. Prepare, separately, a sauce with tomatoes cut into small pieces, olive oil, salt, pepper and the cloves of garlic. Add half a teaspoon of sugar.
Fry the eggplants in abundant boiling oil, so that they become golden and crispy. Then put them on straw paper to eliminate the excess fat. Grease an oven pan and sprinkle with some spoonfuls of sauce, then make a layer of eggplants, a layer of sliced hard-boiled eggs, a sprinkle of basil, sliced Caciocavallo cheese, and a spoonful of sauce. Carry on, layer by layer, ending up with the eggplants. Dust the surface with grated Parmesan cheese. Put in your Bertazzoni Speed oven, set on Convection/Broil at 360°F (180°C) for about 14 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.