Eggplant Parmesan (version XXVI)
4 pounds eggplant (4 large)
Drain the tomatoes well, and cook them with the minced onion and a sprig of basil. When they have softened, drain them and put them through a food mill, then cook them a little more over low heat, without letting the sauce thicken too much. Salt the sauce when it is done and dont add oil, as the eggplant will have absorbed enough in frying. Peel the eggplants and cut them into quarter-inch slices; salt them and place them between to plates to press out the bitter juices. After 1 to 2 hours rinse them and pat them dry.
olive oil for frying
2-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, blanched peeled and
small piece of onion, minced
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmigiano
In the mean time, heat a pot of oil to the smoking point, then fry the slices, a few at a time, removing them from the oil while they are still lightly colored. Set the slices upright in a rack to drain, then put them on a sheet of absorbent paper to remove all the oil you can . Mince the basil and cut the mozzarella into thin slices, then cut the slices into strips. Take a 10-inch diameter ovenproof dish thats about 3 inches high and spread a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce over it. Next, beat the eggs with 2/3 cup of tomato sauce. Arrange a third of the eggplant in the bottom of the dish, overlapping the slices slightly, and cover them with 2 tablespoons grated cheese, 5-6 pieces basil leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of the egg sauce, and half the mozzarella. Repeat this process with another layer. Lay down a third layer, covering it with the remaining grated cheese, egg-tomato sauce, and, if need be a little more tomato sauce to cover. Bake in a slow oven for about an hour, turning the heat up in the last few minutes to lightly brown the top.
The dish should not be eaten hot let it cool some, or better yet, entirely. It will be better the next day or even the day after that.
Variations: Flavor the eggplant with a well cooked, but not excessively thick tomato sauce made with oil and minced onion (pomarola). Bake the assembled dish at length in a hot oven, and brown it well. Make a thick tomato sauce with no oil, and heat the assembled dish over a low flame rather than in the oven, and remove it from the fire as soon as it begins to bubble.
Low fat: Rather than fry the eggplant, microwave it (see your microwaves booklet for instructions) and dont put any oil in the tomato sauce. Make the rest as normal.
Note: Since the wateriness of fresh tomatoes varies the above is a minimum. You can also use 3.6 pounds canned tomatoes or 1 1/2 quarts bottled tomato sauce.
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