Eggplants were once known as mad apples, don’t ask me why I know this, it’s just a random fact someone once told me and I can’t seem to shake it off. I do know however, that in South Africa and Malaysia they are known as brinjal and for the Europeans they are called aubergines. But no matter what you call them one thing is for sure, and that is that eggplants are a seriously versatile veggie!
Before cooking with them, let’s cover off a few basics. First up is seasonality; the best time to buy is during the warmer months, as they are at the most plentiful and therefore cheapest during this time, however the mild Australian climate does mean that they are available all year round so any time is a good time to buy. Secondly when buying make sure they look glossy with a smooth, blemish free skin. Avoid any with signs wrinkling or lighter spots of flesh.
Following these simple buying tips will ensure that you have perfect start for your recipes which could include the totally tasty Middle Eastern Baba Ghanoush or the rich and delicious European Ratatouille, or today’s recipe of the day which is for the good old Aussie Parmi.
Eggplant Parmigiana is a perfect alternative to the traditional chicken parmigiana, and will be a hit with the vegetarians and carnivores alike.
A handy tip when preparing eggplant is to salt them, wash them and dry them before cooking. This will remove any bitterness and ensure that are full flavoured and sweet.
In addition to eggplant this recipe calls for, cheese, fresh basil leaves a MAGGI Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe Base and a can of tomatoes.
So first up, heat the oven to 180°C then make the sauce using the tomatoes, brown sugar and recipe base. Set aside for layering with the eggplants.
To layer, simply place one layer of eggplant in a dish and top with the sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella and some fresh basil, repeat to make three layers.
Pre heat oven to 180°C.
Mix Recipe Base and water to a paste, add to a pan with tomatoes and sugar and bring to the boil. Set aside.
Place a layer of eggplant in the base of the dish, top with a third of the tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil. Repeat to make three layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until golden.