Recipe: Spiced eggplant parmigiana

10m prep
1hr cook

The parma (or parmi, depending on which part of Australia you’re from) is a national institution. A pub’s not a pub without a parma – or a selection of parmas – on the menu, often paired with a glass of beer or wine for a comforting dose of traditional Aussie hospitality.

Though the chicken parmigiana is the version most commonly found outside Italy, it’s the eggplant equivalent that’s closer to the dish that’s speculated to be the pub classic’s origins: melanzane alla Parmigiana.

This recipe breathes new life into the eggplant parma, pre-roasting a thick slice of eggplant rubbed in Chermoula spice mix for maximum flavour and tenderness, rolling it in panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch, slathering it in our delicious The Essential Ingredient Tomato and Basil Passata and topping with thick slices of buffalo mozzarella.

Serve with chips and salad for a pub-style lunch, or with oven-roasted vegetables for a delicious Italian dinner.

Ingredients

Serves 4
4 medium-sized eggplants
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil View
1 tbsp Chermoula spice mix View
2 tsp salt
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
2 cups panko breadcrumbs View
3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral frying oil) View
2 cups passata View
4 balls buffalo mozzarella

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C for fan-forced).

Cut the tops and bottoms off the eggplants, then slice off two sides leaving a thick ‘steak’ with skin around the remaining sides*. Rub all over with olive oil, then sprinkle with Chermoula spice mix and one teaspoon of salt. Arrange the dusted eggplants on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and roast for 40 minutes or until very soft. Remove the eggplant from the oven and leave to cool.

Combine the flour and remaining salt in a shallow bowl large enough to fit one of the eggplant pieces. Beat the eggs lightly in a second bowl, and fill a third bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Working one a time, drag the roasted eggplant through the flour until well-covered, dust off any excess and drop into the egg. Flip the eggplant, ensuring the whole piece is covered in egg, then transfer to the panko. Press it into the crumbs, flip and press again. Flip twice more until the whole surface is completely covered in crumbs, then set the crumbed eggplant aside on a plate while you repeat with the remaining pieces.

Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until shimmering, and fry the eggplants until the breadcrumb coating is lightly golden and crunchy on both sides- don’t over cook them, as you’ll be toasting them further under the griller.

Warm the passata in a small saucepan. Place each eggplant schnitzel on a heat-proof plate, and spoon over a generous amount of passata. Top with slices of buffalo mozzarella and grill until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve immediately.

* Roast the eggplant offcuts and blend with tahini, olive oil and lemon juice for a quick baba ghanoush

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