Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Aubergine Parmigiana - the skinny version!

I first had Melanzane Parmigiana in a little cafe in a tiny side street in Ravello, high on the Amalfi coast, many years ago.  Perfect town, and perfect food, served just tepid - rich, melting, and unctuous with LOTS of olive oil.  Aubergine, as we all know, is like a sponge, and soaks up as much oil as you can throw at it, so making this 'skinny' is a challenge, especially when you throw in the Mozzarella and grated parmesan, so essential to the texture and flavour of the finished dish.  The answer lies in gently grilling the aubergine slices, which you lay out on a baking tray and spray with just a little oil from a pump-dispenser.  Keep the heat moderate, turn a couple of times, and after 15 minutes or so, you should end up with golden, tender slices of aubergine that will reach full melting softness after being bathed in a rich tomato and basil sauce, layered with sliced mozzarella (NOT the grated stuff please, and you really don't need the 'di Buffola' good stuff which is best eaten cool with a perfectly-ripe tom and fresh basil) and generous sprinklings of grated parmesan, and baked for half-an-hour.  Okay, so this will never be REALLY low fat, but it is much lower than traditional recipes, and tasted bloomin' gorgeous, just warm, with lots of spinach, green beans and sugarsnap peas on the side.

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