Eggplant Parmigiana is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes. I once served it at a dinner party which included guys and they loved it and didn’t even know they weren’t eating meat (I just called it Parmigiana, leaving off the eggplant) I remember reading somewhere that if you baked eggplant, it brings out the flavour of it. I have found that it really takes the bitterness of the eggplant away and I think it even tastes better than having it fried! I often do salt the eggplant to release some of the water, but I find that you only need to do this with larger eggplants as the smaller ones don’t get as bitter. This is accompanied with a basic red sauce with a twist, I use milk instead of water to rinse out the tomatoes, but feel free to use water if you like!
You will also notice that in the Parmigiana recipes there are a lot of (approximates). The reason for this is, you are flouring and egging the Eggplants and the amount of ingredients depends on the size of the Eggplants or how many you want to do at one time. I find that I just keep making the eggplant parmigiana as it is a bit messy and fiddley, so I always make heaps and just do two batches of sauce, that way I have plenty for the freezer. I also often use the eggplant to make moussaka as well. The great thing about these interchangeable recipes is if you make a batch of red sauce, white sauce, meat sauce and some eggplant. You can make lasagna, eggplant parmigiana and moussaka all at once, as well as use any of the left over meat sauce for spaghetti bolognese. Now that is some time-saving right there. Then you have fantastic meals for the freezer, when your busy!
This is the timing I use to make these four recipes at the same time, using the Thermomix. Before my Thermomix, I use to have a ‘cook up day’ and if you have a big enough stove you can put it in multiple pots all at once. Although I do find that the white sauce needs lots of attention, so make that after you have baked all the eggplant or it might burn!
1. Slice and salt eggplant
2. Start a batch of red sauce (transfer to a Thermoserver if making in the Thermomix)
I often make two batches of red sauce as you can always add the extra sauce to the layers with the meat sauce
3. Get eggplant parmigiana baking in the oven
4. Make a batch of meat sauce (transfer to a Thermoserver if making in the Thermomix)
5. Make a double batch of white sauce
6. Make up parmigiana, moussaka, lasagna into freezable containers
7. Any sauce that is left over can be used as a bolognese or fresh pasta dish!
Ingredients – Eggplant Parmigiana
2 – 3 Eggplants (aubergines)
Salt to leach the Eggplants (optional)
1 Cup Plain Flour (approximately)
Fresh Chopped Oregano (dried is fine, but fresh is better)
6 – 8 Eggs (approximately)
100 ml (g) milk (approximately)
250 – 500g Grated Mozzarella (depends on how cheesy you like it)
50 – 100g Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ingredients – Red Sauce
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoons (20g) Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon (20g) Butter
Fresh Oregano (8 – 10 leaves or dried)
700g Bottle Passata
400g Tin Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Paprika Paste or Tomato Paste
100g Milk (for rinsing the passata and tin tomatoes, you can use water)
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Teaspoons sugar
Pepper to Taste
Method – Eggplant Parmigiana
1. Slice Eggplant into rounds about 1/2 cm in width, try to keep them as even as possible, place around a colander and sprinkle some salt around as you layer, this will help leach out the water and some bitterness. After about 30 minutes, pat eggplant dry, ready for egg and flour. (the salting is optional, but a must if you have larger eggplants)
2. Preheat oven to 180°C and line large flat biscuit trays with baking paper.
3. Place flour and oregano onto a plate and salt and pepper to preference.
4. Beat eggs and milk into a bowl.
5. Lightly dust eggplant with the flour mixture, trying to get some oregano on each piece.
6. Dip into egg mixture and thoroughly coat, making sure all the flour has been covered and place eggplant onto your prepared tray. It doesn’t matter if the eggplant are touching as they will easily pull apart when cooked.
7. Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the trays.
Method – Red Sauce
This recipe can be double even quadrupled to make larger amounts, you will just need to adjust the cooking times.
1. Place oil and butter into a warm frying pan and add chopped onion and garlic and saute.
2. Add in grated carrot, oregano, passata, tin tomatoes and milk (rinse out the passata and tin with milk)
3. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer for 35 – 60 minutes. Salt and sugar to taste. The time will depend on how thick you want the sauce. I prefer the full 60 minutes as I like a thick sauce.
Method – Eggplant Parmigiana
Method – Red Sauce
1. Place onions, garlic and carrot into mixing bowl and chop 3 seconds/speed 5, then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add butter and oil and sauté, 6 minutes/Varoma/speed 1.
3. Add in oregano, passata, tin tomatoes and milk (rinse out the passata and tin with milk)
4. Place the steaming basket on top of the lid instead of the MC to allow the moisture to escape, but stop the mess and cook 60 minutes/Varoma/speed 1.
5. Sugar and salt mixture to taste, then blend 30 seconds/speed 5 then gradually go to speed 8.
Once made, without washing the bowl, pop another one on so you have a double batch, while making and cooking the batches of eggplant, if you are going to do a large lot for the freezer.
Putting the Eggplant Parmigiana Together.
1. Cover the bottom of the baking dish (or aluminium container) with red sauce, lay out the eggplant cover the bottom of the dish.
2. Generously cover the eggplant with red sauce then sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan (amount at your discretion) If you have a few extra fresh oregano leaves you can sprinkle them over the cheese.
3. Cover cheese layer with more eggplant, red sauce then cheese. repeat this until your dish is full, making sure you finish on a cheese layer.
4. Baking in the oven 180°C for 45 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.
If you are going to freeze the eggplant parmigiana make sure you do it before cooking, then, get it out of the freezer to defrost before cooking. I have been known to come home and get one straight out of the freezer and put it into the oven on 150°C until it is defrosted, then turn it up to 180°C to cook, but that is just me, I’m always forgetting to take things out of the freezer and really, sometimes I don’t know what I am going to feel like that till that night!! 🙂
This is a great way to make a lot of food and fantastic if you have a few friends, you can all make large batches of one element each then come together and put them all together and everyone gets to take lots home. It is a great idea, I like to call it freezer friends. 🙂
Don’t forget, I love hearing from you so please let me know what you think.
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