Summer is the season of the aubergine. Are you a fan but have run out of ways to prepare it? Or you simply don’t know which way is the right one for a real Parmigiana di Melanzane? Swide has everything you need to know about the vegetable and gives you 3 recipes.
Melanzana, eggplant, aubergine, bernjena….no matter how you put it, this vegetable is the queen of summer. The plant is native to the Indian subcontinent but it is now cultivated throughout Europe. The first record we have is from a Chinese agricultural book of 544 whereas the Arabic and North African names for it indicates that eggplant was introduced to the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages, as we have no record of in ancient Greek or Roman civilisations.
If are a true fan of the aubergine, here are Swide’s tips to make the most out of this tasty summer gift.
Polpette alle melanzane – Aubergine polpette
2 big aubergines
2 stale bread slices
grated pecorino cheese
Peel the aubergines and dice them. In the meantime heat some water. When it boils, add the eggplants and let them cook for 4-5 minutes, then drain them and squeeze the water by placing over them a plate with a weight, or simply wring them out while inside a clean cloth. With a mixer, puree the aubergines, then place them in a bowl and add the eggs, grated cheese, breadcrumbs from the stale bread, the parsley and some salt. Mix again. With a spoon, shape the mixture into around 14 meatballs, roll them in breadcrumbs, then fry them in hot oil. Serve lukewarm.
1 package of short crust pastry
Rinse the aubergines, prick them all over with a fork and bake them whole for 30 minutes at 180 C degrees or until soft. Open the eggplants, extract the pulp, squeeze it and mix it with an electric mixer with the egg, garlic and basil. Pour the mixture into the short crust pastry that you have pierced with many little holes and add the halved cherry tomatoes. Season it with oregano and olive oil and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Serves 4.
Parmigiana di melanzane
This is a quick recipe, alternative to the traditional ones, so that you can prepare it even when you don’t have much time.
3 round black aubergines
200 gr tomato sauce
50 gr freshly grated parmesan
Clean the aubergines, slice them to bout 1cm thickness, place them in a colander and cover them with coarse salt so to make them release their water. Let them rest for about an hour and a half, then rinse them thoroughly and dry them with kitchen paper. In the meantime, slice the mozzarella and filter the watery milk. Brown the onions in a pan and add the tomato sauce and let it simmer for an hour with some salt and sugar until reduced. Grease a baking pan with oil and place the slices of aubergine, covering the entire surface. Add salt, spread on the tomato sauce, add some oregano and basil, then some mozzarella diced or thinly sliced, and some parmesan and repeat the layers (or not, depending on how light you want your parmigiana di melanzane). Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees. Take off the aluminium foil and grill until slightly brown on top. Serves 4.