Eggplant in the Style of Modugno
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds), sliced lengthwise 1/4-inch thick
1. Layer the eggplant slices in a colander, sprinkling each layer with the salt. Set aside to drain for at least 1-1/2 hours. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Pat dry with paper towels.
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
2 teaspoons minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1-3/4 cups grated mozzarella cheese (8 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (2 ounces)
freshly ground pepper
1 cup marinara sauce
2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over moderately high heat to 375F or until a small bread cube browns in about 1 minute. Add the eggplant slices in small batches and fry, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, mozzarella and all but 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Stir in the egg and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon 3/4 cup of the Marinara Sauce into a nonreactive 8-by-12-inch baking pan. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the mozzarella mixture on each slice of eggplant, roll up and place seam side down in the pan. Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup . Marinara Sauce over the eggplant rolls and sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons Parmesan on top.
(This dish can be prepared to this point several hours ahead and kept covered at room temperature.) Bake until the mixture bubbles and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
These eggplant rolls are from Apulia, the region that forms the heel of the Italian boot. They make a wonderful antipasto or a delicious luncheon dish. Serve at room temperature to enjoy their fullest flavor.
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