Sicilian aubergine parmigiana

Another one from Leith’s Vegetarian Bible.  This was very nice, but slicing and frying so much aubergine was a bit tedious.  It’s also another book that calls for parmesan but to give Leith’s credit, after some investigation, in the beginning of the book they state  that they refer to the generic name for cheese and for parmesan they recommend Twineham Grange Italian Style hard cheese (as do I).

Ingredients (serves 6)

150ml/1/4 pint olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 x 400g/14oz cans of chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
900g/2lb aubergines
45g/1 1/2 oz plain flour
85g/3oz Parmesan-style cheese, freshly grated
55g/2oz currants
55g/2 oz pinenuts, lightly toasted
170g/6oz provolone or mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
12 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces

  1. Make the tomato sauce: put 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic into a large, deep frying pan.  Put over a medium to high heat and as soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes until well reduced and thickened.  Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Trim the stalks from the aubergines and cut them crossways into thin slices.  Season them well on both sides with salt and pepper.  Mix the flour and 45g/1 1/2 oz of the Parmesan-style cheese together in a shallow dish.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F gas mark 6.  Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan.  Dip a few aubergine slices into the flour and cheese mixture, shake off the excess, and fry over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden.  Lift on to kitchen paper and leave to drain.  Fry the remaining aubergine slices in the same way.
  4. Layer half the aubergines, tomato sauce, currants, pinenuts, provolone or mozzarella cheese slices and basil in the bottom of a 2.2 litre/4 pint shallow ovenproof dish.  Season with pepper, then repeat the layers once more, ending with a layer of cheese.
  5. Sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan-style cheese and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Sicilian aubergine parmigiana
Sicilian aubergine parmigiana

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