Are you familiar with eggplant parmesan, or parmigiana di melanzane? I’m sure you are, but in case you are not...you definitely should! If I had to choose a dish that is capable of delivering the perfect balance of Italian flavours and aromas, this would be it. This delicacy is usually fried, which is something that once again we are not going to do. However, when it comes the dishes of our own tradition we have extremely high expectations, obviously, so it should suffice to tell you that we absolutely love this version of eggplant parmesan.
- To begin with, thinly slice the aubergines. If you find it difficult to slice the aubergine in its whole form, cut it in half lengthwise before slicing it.
- Place a griddle pan over a high heat and warm it up until it’s reasonably hot, and then start grilling the eggplant. Every slice generally takes about 30 seconds to cook on the first side and 15 seconds on the second side, but this really depends from the pan you have and its temperature. Ideally, you want to achieve some light grill marks on the slices.
- One the grilling stage is complete, preheat the oven to 180°C, or 360°F.
- Take an oven dish and start with the layering. The order of the layers should be: tomato sauce, eggplant, salt, vegan cheese, fresh basil, eggplant again, and so on. The vegan cheese can be substituted with our mozzarella cheese, if you so desire. The last layer should be a tomato one with some cheese sprinkled on it. For this quantity of ingredients, we are using a dish that is 23 by 13 centimetres, or nine by five inches.
- Once the layering is complete, bake the parmigiana in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, remembering to rotate the dish halfway through the cooking time.
- Once the time has elapsed, let the parmesan cool down for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- We used Violife pizza cheese for this recipe, which is by far one of the best we can find here in the UK. If you live in the US, I believe that your best bet is Daya cheese. I’m not familiar with other vegan cheeses that taste as good as the ones I’ve mentioned, but I’m sure there are plenty around.
- If you want to make the exact same sauce we did, here is the recipe: 1 bottle of tomato passata (21oz – 600g), ⅛ tsp of garlic powder/granules (1g), ⅛ tsp baking soda (1g), ⅛ tsp salt (1g), ½ tsp sugar (5g). Mix everything together, bring to the boil, lower the heat to the minimum and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool down completely before using it. Other options are listed below.
- There is a thing going on with eggplant, which is to salt it before using it. This is usually done because the only way to truly counteract its bitterness, is in fact to add saltiness. However, nowadays aubergines are quite sweet and rarely bitter, so the salting stage is not really needed unless you are doing it to change the consistency of the fruit. For this recipe, this step is not recommended, if you can find good quality aubergines.
- The oven dish we used was 23×13 centimetres or 9×5 inches
Preparation Time: 20m
Cooking Time: 45m
Total Time: 1h 5m
Cooking Temperature: 180°C - 355°F
Storage Times: Keeps for 2 days in the fridge. I’ve never tried to freeze the parmigiana, but I’d say that it will freeze very well after the cooking process and it can be easily reheated in a microwave or in the oven.