Parmigiana Bianca ("White" Eggplant Parmigiana)

By • August 7, 2014 • 20 Comments

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Author Notes: This is a version of Eggplant Parmigiana that hails from Puglia, Italy's heel, called "Parmigiana bianca" or "white Parmigiana". The main difference is that it's made without the tomato sauce that is characteristic of traditional Eggplant Parmigiana. The result is a gentler, sweeter version of the classic recipe.

It's typically served as an antipasto -- cut into small pieces and presented alongside a delicious platter of salumi, olives, marinated vegetables, fresh cheeses, and lovely deep-fried things. It also makes for great, portable picnic fare.
Emiko

Serves 4 to 6 as part of an antipasto

  • 2 large eggplants
  • Salt
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (125 milliliters) milk
  • 3 ounces (80 grams) Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) fresh mozzarella (about 1 large ball), provola, or caciocavallo cheese
  1. Cut the eggplant into 1-centimeter slices and sprinkle each with salt on one side. Let sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Rinse and pat the slices dry, then fry them in plenty of olive oil (or grill with a little olive oil) until golden brown and tender. Place the slices on paper towels to drain any excess oil and set aside until needed.
  2. Prepare a casserole dish by greasing it with olive oil and dusting with a tablespoon of the breadcrumbs.
  3. Beat the eggs and milk together with a pinch of salt and half of the Parmesan cheese.
  4. Layer the eggplant in a casserole dish with the mozzarella and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Pour the egg mixture over the eggplant and mozzarella. Finish with the rest of the Parmesan and a final sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven at 350º F (180º C) until the eggs are set and the top is golden and crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve as part of an antipasto.
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30 days ago weekend at bearnaise

I made this over the weekend and it was really tasty, even though I screwed up and forgot the milk! Great recipe, will make again

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3 months ago marjory

Hi Emiko,
To confirm, NO tomatoes here? What gives the top crust that reddish hue in your picture?

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3 months ago Emiko

No tomatoes in this version! That golden brown crust is the melted cheese! :)

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3 months ago Marsha Gainey

This is very good. I broiled my eggplant slices instead of frying or grilling them, following directions for "Easy Moussaka" in "More-with-Less Cook Book" by Doris Janzen Longacre. I used more breadcrumbs, too. The result was a wonderfully cheesy, eggy dish that's good for any meal. I had a chunk today for breakfast with toast. When I make it again, I'm going to be sure to use an 8-inch, not a 9-inch pan, and it was a bit bland, so I will add black pepper and more salt.

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3 months ago Emiko

Great idea and thanks for the feedback!

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3 months ago Sonya Schwartz

has anyone tried to freeze this? we have a big holiday coming up at our house and need more dishes we can make ahead.

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3 months ago Marsha Gainey

i haven't, but I wouldn't advise it. It's full of dairy, which usually doesn't freeze well.

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3 months ago I_Fortuna

In my experience, cheese freezes just fine after it is cooked. Once cheese is cooked the chemical composition changes and it will be fine. Just make sure it is freezer wrapped well and all air removed from the packaging. I use Glad freezer containers. Have you ever bought lasagna in the freezer section of the market? It cooks up fine and is even better when prepared at home.
I also freeze gallons of milk and eggs in the shell that are uncooked freeze well and defrost easily. I can't tell you the number of times that my eggs use to freeze in my old fridge. The shells crack a bit during the freezing but once removed into a bowl defrost quickly. Just keep them in their original container in freezer until time to prepare them.

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4 months ago bklyncook

It was delicious ! In Sicily we do a thin layer of prosciutto cotto, or cooked ham, between the layers... I like this especially because I don't always want to fry eggplant AND cook a tomato sauce !

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4 months ago Jeannine Doyle

Emiko maybe my dish was too deep, but it did not cook at 350 even after 30 minutes. Turned the oven up to 400. By the way, my oven is new so I am confident in the temperature. Hope it's done soon, I'm starving!

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4 months ago I_Fortuna

I would just like to mention that I have a new oven also and had problems "learning" how to use it after using my old one. I hated it.
Here is what I learned:
1-Be sure this recipe is on the second to lowest rack. I use the middle rack for baking.
2-Let your oven preheat for 30 minutes even though the beeper will tell you it is ready.
3-Use an oven thermometer to calibrate the temperature of your oven. This will insure that it is heating to the temperature you set it at.
I sometimes set my temp. about 30 degrees higher than the recipe calls for.
Know that glass pans cook hotter than metal ones.
Just because an oven is new, does not mean the manufacturer set it correctly or that it will preform like your old one. Best of luck : )

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4 months ago I_Fortuna

I always hate to click on eggplant recipes because I know that the eggplant will not be prepared properly. Wow, was I wrong. I love to see recipes where the chef really knows eggplant. I make my eggplant this way all the time and it is volumes better this way. I do cut my eggplant a little thinner but this is it exactly. Thank you!

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4 months ago Jeannine Doyle

Just emailed Emiko to see if you can assemble ahead, then add milk, egg, Parmesan when going into the oven

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4 months ago Emiko

Yes this would work just fine, assembling ahead as you've described. Let us know how it goes!

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4 months ago Kristina

How many layers of eggplant are there meant to be? Is it just cheese between the layers? I wasn't 100% clear on that bit.

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4 months ago Emiko

In step 4 it says layer the eggplants with the cheese and sprinkling of breadcrumbs -- you want both in there between each layer. As for number of layers, it really just depends on how big your eggplants, their slices and your baking dish are! It should be at least 3 layers thick but you can go more if you like!

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4 months ago Kristina

Thank you very much Emiko! Maybe it seemed too easy so my brain tried to complicate it, hehe. All your recipes look delicious and I look forward to trying this :)

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4 months ago Emiko

No problem! It's good to clarify so thanks for asking!

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5 months ago Marsha Gainey

Should the casserole dish be an 8-inch one?

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4 months ago Emiko

That would work!