Melanzane alla Parmigiano

Aubergine Parmesan

My colleague who is always quite productive in his little patch – came to the office bearing a basket full of produce that he couldn’t take to his Obon holiday place in Oita and said, “Take it away, do what you want with them, just don’t throw them away.”

Looking at the contents of the basket – aubergines, roma tomatoes, bunches of basil, they looked too good not to process. However they’re already looking quite ripen and could not be left in the fridge any longer than 3 days.

What to do? Melanzane alla parmigiano (or in English is known as aubergine Parmesan)!

It was quite a production, because for the first time ever I used 4 Le Creuset  items in one go!

*Le Creuset used: stainless skillet, iron cast griddle, 2xbaking dishes

** Best used in times when you have excess amount of eggplants!

Melanzane alla Parmigiano

recipe from: Jamie’s Italy


3 large firm aubergines
olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a bulb of spring garlic, if you can get it, or 1 clove of regular garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes or 1kg fresh ripe tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a little wine vinegar
a large handful of fresh basil
4 large handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 handfuls of dried breadcrumbs
a little fresh oregano, leaves chopped

• 1 x 150g ball of buffalo mozzarella


  1. First things first: remove the stalks from the aubergines, slice them up into 1cm thick slices, and put to one side. Whether you’re using a griddle pan or a barbecue, get it really hot.
  2. Meanwhile, put 2 or 3 glugs of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and dried oregano and cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft and the garlic has a tiny bit of colour.
  3. If you’re using tinned tomatoes, break them up, and if you’re using fresh tomatoes (which will obviously taste sweeter and more delicious, if they’re in season), very quickly prick each one and put them into a big pan of boiling water for 40 seconds. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds, then remove the skins, carefully squeeze out the pips and cut up the flesh. Add the tomato flesh or tinned tomatoes to the onion, garlic and oregano. Give the mixture a good stir, then put a lid on the pan and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, grill the aubergines on both sides until lightly charred – you may have to do them in batches, as they probably won’t all fit into your griddle pan in one go. As each batch is finished, remove them to a tray and carry on grilling the rest until they’re all nicely done.
  5. When the tomato sauce is reduced and sweet, season it carefully with salt, pepper and a tiny swig of wine vinegar, and add the basil. You can leave the sauce chunky or you can purée it.
  6. Get yourself an earthenware type dish (25 x 12–15cm). Put in a small layer of tomato sauce, then a thin scattering of Parmesan, followed by a single layer of aubergines. Repeat these layers until you’ve used all the ingredients up, finishing with a little sauce and another good sprinkling of Parmesan. I like to toss the bread rumbs in olive oil with a little freshly chopped oregano and sprinkle them on top of the Parmesan. Sometimes the dish is served with torn-up mozzarella on top, which is nice too.
  7. Place the dish in the oven and bake at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for half an hour until golden, crisp and bubbly. It’s best eaten straight away, but it can also be served cold. You can use the same method substituting courgettes or fennel for the aubergines – both are delicious. But do try making it with aubergines – you’ll love it!



Categories: Italian, Le Creuset Project, Recipes, Vegetables

Author:Tari Martosudirjo Keitt

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