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
4 to 6 as part of an antipasto
Olive oil for frying
(60 grams) dried breadcrumbs
(125 milliliters) milk
(80 grams) Parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
(200 grams) fresh mozzarella (about 1 large ball), provola, or caciocavallo cheese
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.
Prepare a casserole dish by greasing it with olive oil and dusting with a tablespoon of the breadcrumbs.
Beat the eggs and milk together with a pinch of salt and half of the Parmesan cheese.
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.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.