Marco’s Aubergine Parmigiana
Time: 45 mins – 1 hour
Here’s Marco’s take on Aubergine Parmigiana – a proper celebration of the vegetable with layers of aubergine fritters, mozzarella and tomato sauce. The art is in the construction and I like to use the round Viola aubergine. If you don’t fancy going the whole way, you can just make the fritters, which are lovely appetisers to serve with drinks, with Sinatra crooning in the background.
Source: Marco Pierre White
- 1 large aubergine (the round Viola variety if you can get it)
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 200g plain flour
- 4 eggs
- Olive oil, for frying and drizzling
- 400g mozzarella, sliced
- 400ml passata
- A small bunch of basil
- Sea salt
- 150g Italian-style vegetarian hard cheese, grated
- A small handful of micro parsley (or flat-leaf parsley, chopped), to garnish
Finely slice the aubergine, about 5mm (¼in) thick, but slice the base and top about 1cm (½in) thick. Keep the slices in order, so that it will be easy to reconstruct the aubergine shape. Rub the cut edges of the lemon over the aubergine slices.
Put the flour in one bowl. Crack the eggs into another bowl, and briskly whisk with a fork. Dip the aubergine slices in the flour, and then into the beaten egg. Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the aubergine in batches for about 5 minutes on each side until golden, adding more oil if necessary.
Place the cooked aubergine slices on kitchen paper, top each with a slice of mozzarella and leave the cheese to melt. Remember to keep the slices in order so the reconstruction is easy.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3. Place the ‘base’ fritter on a baking tray and spoon a little tomato sauce on top of it. Add a basil leaf, and lightly season with salt. Place the next fritter on top.
Repeat the process: fritter, tomato sauce, basil leaf, salt… until the aubergine is reconstructed. Before adding the aubergine top, pour over a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, so that it cascades down the sides.
Add the aubergine top and if necessary push a wooden skewer through the whole creation, from top to base, to hold the layers in place. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Allow the aubergine to cool a little before removing the skewer. Serve in giant rings, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and the grated cheese and parsley.