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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cooking&Baking Challenge - Session 1 - Isabel

Melanzane parmiggiana

This is one of my favorite recipes. I make it quite a bit (maybe once a month). I must confess I’m in love with eggplants: Their color, their taste and their texture.The recipe serves 2-3.

You will need:
• 1 big (or 2 small) eggplant(s), in slices of about 1-1.5 cms
• 3 tbs olive oil.
• 1 small onion, minced.
• 3 garlic cloves, minced or sliced.
• (Dried) oregano.
• 500 g tomatoes, skinned and diced (I must confess, I usually buy the ones canned and already crushed, and it really depends on the quantity, and, if there’s any leftover sauce, you can use it for whatever… I’m also in love with tomatoes).
• Salt, to taste (needed for a couple of steps).
• Ground pepper.
• Sugar (I usually use about 2 tsp).
• Basil (fresh, the one dried I really don’t get).
• 1 ball of mozzarella, sliced (when I don’t have any at home, I confess I use the dry kind, but it’s always nicer when it’s fresh).
• Grana Padano cheese
• Breadcrumbs (I make my own: I process about 3-4 garlic cloves and a few sprigs of parsley and old, dry bread, which brings a nice taste to everything I use to… except cakes/puddings, of course… I use plain breadcrumbs then). (Also, I like to use it because it gives a nice brown look, but you may prefer using just the Grana Padano cheese).
• 1 (griddle) pan.
• 1 pot.
• 1 oven.
• Serving plates apt for oven (I have a couple of earthenware dishes that you can see on the picture).
{Wow, this is a long list! I never realized I use so many things!}

How to cook melanzane parmiggiana:
I. The eggplant(s):
1. In order to take out that funny, sour taste of eggplants, I place them on a colander with a bit of salt for each slice (both sides), and let them rest at least 30 minutes. After that, I rinse them and dry them.
2. Then I grill them, adding salt, pepper, and oregano. (This way, the whole dish is already cooked when I put it in the oven and it takes a lot less time).

II. The tomato sauce:
3. In a pot, at about medium heat, I add 3 tbs of olive oil, 1 small onion (minced), 3 cloves of garlic (also minced or in slices… it depends on the day), and about 1 tsp oregano. Everything is cooked for about 10 minutes, until the onion is almost transparent.
4. Then I add my tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tsp of sugar, and a few sprigs of fresh basil (I have a tube that presents it chopped, and use about the size of a “normal” die). Everything is left, at medium heat too, about 15 minutes.
{The sauce is awesome… feel free to taste it with a bit of bread, but be careful! You’ll need some later!}

III. The oven:
5. In a baking dish (for this recipe, I like individual earthenware), place, in this order, a bit of the tomato sauce, the eggplant(s), the mozzarella (I like to put one on top of each slice of eggplant), and the breadcrumbs sprinkled with Grana Padano Cheese.
6. Place everything on the oven, preheated, at about 190ºC (or with the “grill” function), until golden brown.


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