Whenever I forget what’s for dinner or, more precisely, realise that I have forgotten to make anything for dinner, I pray for the presence of an aubergine to be in the near vicinity or, ideally, in our kitchen. It is unusual for there not to be some fresh tomato sauce and some mozzarella but aubergines, in the summer, putrefy at an alarming rate. The deep purple swollen bull’s pizzle that one carefully selected from the market’s phallic array will soon darken and soften if not used quickly. How true that is of life, but back to the kitchen. This holy trinity of ingredients will, in time, become one but melanzane alla Parmigiana is a very slow affair which is a very good thing for both taste and contentment. Cooking with sensual ingredients is a great pleasure. Slicing the aubergine into even slices that are just the right thickness, a thickness that varies with each person who makes this dish regularly, entails a sharp knife and clean, straight cuts to reveal the slabs of palest green flesh rimmed with darkness that collapse onto the chopping board. A favourite frying pan, large enough to hold three big slices of aubergine, is on the hob. The dark base of the pan is shining with a shimmering film of hot olive oil upon which the slices will gently burnish. The tomato sauce needs to be highly seasoned with garlic, chilli, salt, pepper, red wine and an overdose of deep green olive oil to make it shine with silkiness. A thin layer of this sauce is laid in the base of the cooking dish and the first slices of golden aubergine are placed on top of it and are sparingly seasoned with a pinch of sea salt and some ground black pepper. A couple of slices of creamy, soft white mozzarella are laid on top of these and so the layers continue until the aubergine slices are all gone. Parmigiana cannot be left out of melanzane alla Parmigiana so remember to be generous when grating this wonderful cheese over the surface. Generosity is the key to this dish…generosity in flavour, care and time. Put the dish in a hot oven for 40 minutes or until it looks right for you. I serve it with some spaghetti olio, aglio e peperoncino.
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This dish is a favourite of mine and you describe it so beautifully. I will have to make some this weekend! I just don’t understand people who don’t like aubergines. Emma.
It’s such a regular in our household….it never fails to please:)
I have to admit that I am not a fan of Aubergine, eggplant where I am from! but you lovely description and photo are enough to give it a try!
Go for it…and thanks for the follow:)
Roger you have outdone yourself with this one. Your pictures are only surpassed by your descriptive prose, which I found to be highly stimulating. I love Melanzane alla Parmigiana and your words have captured the preparation process in a, how shall I say, almost erotic way.
Excellent….glad it worked:)
The first time I ever had this dish my 1st generation Italian college room mate prepared it while I sat in our little kitchen chatting & watching her. When I first smelled the olive oil heating in the pan, some long dead Latin DNA rose up in my blood & swooned in its reawakening. Mama cooked with butter, lard, ham grease, & Mazola, and while I can still recall the taste glories of her scrambled eggs, “all day green beans” with country ham bone & bits (Kentucky gods’ ambrosia), & her fried chicken to die for, I have never looked back since that first experience of olive oil, eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella & Parmigiana. I adopted olive oil for my own all purpose cooking oil & I made the egg plant dish often en famille. Now living alone, I always order it in good Italian dining spots. Thanks for your ecstatic description of this dish’s preparation that brought on my own food reveries this morning. Lovely!
Very much enjoyed your reply…wonderful memories of yours. Glad you found olive oil:)
Mmm. One of my favourite dishes. But one which I prefer after an invigorating winter’s walk, with frost on my boots, a bright red nose from the crsip air, and that particualr appetite one only gets after a few hours out in sharp winter temperatures. Gorgeous description and photos as usual!
That’s a good point….it does need a good appetite to do it justice:)
Just divine, my Italian housekeeper taught me how to make this when I worked on the amalfi coast.. Just wonderful, but guess who forgot (absolutely forgot) to plant the aubergine this year! SAD!!.. Have a lovely gentle day.. c
On Fri, Jul 11, 2014 at 7:01 AM, Food, Photography & France wrote:
> Food,Photography & France posted: ” Whenever I forget what’s for > dinner or, more precisely, realise that I have forgotten to make anything > for dinner, I pray for the presence of an aubergine to be in the near > vicinity or, ideally, in our kitchen. It is unusual for there not to > be some f”
Forgetting the aubergine planting…I don’t believe it. What with all the free time you have, nothing really to do all day, how could you forget? 🙂
What am I like!.. c
I’ve got a good recipe for pizzle (as you may recall), but I think I’d be inclined to eat your aubergine dish far more often 😉
Eating too much bull’s dick can get you a really bad name:)
According to Clarissa Dickson Wright it was very popular street food in London at the time of Dickens.
There you go again…Dickso, Dickens…bull’s dick on the brain:)
Ha ha – I thought you’d appreciate the puns 😉
As the cat in pantomime said “20 miles from London and still no sign of Dick”:)
I live in Tufnell Park, just down from Archway and the Whittington Hospital – I was up that way this afternoon but there was no sign of Dick, just his cat 🙂
I have three eggplant in my crisper as I type, Roger. We get them in our CSA, and MTM and I never know what to do with them. I’m going to share this recipe with him, because it looks divine. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Take it slowly and get it right. You won’t be disappointed …please God:)
Thanks a million for the inspiration and reminder. I am a ‘bachelor’ for a few days and had a generous portion of spaghetti olio, aglio e peperoncino with a salad last night. And there is indeed an eggplant lingering in my refrigerator, along with some left over pasta. So, I know what I am having for dinner tonight. And as luck would have it, and unusual for these parts, I have some gorgeous shaved Parmigiana on hand! 🙂
Excellent news, Christian. I love it when a plan comes together:)
I love Melanzane, but I shall have to make a version without cheese (alas, new diet to counter autoimmune disease). I love challenges!
I think it still works fine…just more chilli:)
Probably (almost certainly) one of my very favourite dishes and yours is particularly sexy! (Even without mention of the pizzle 😉 )
Let’s keep the pizzle out of this:)
That’s what it’s about:)
Well done. x
Just made it and ate it – it was fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe!
Glad it lived up to its reputation:)
Yesterday my wife came back from a San Antonio, TX – a 15 hour ‘non-stop’ drive.’ Before going to bed she grabbed the dish of leftover eggplant and all I heard was ‘this is fantastic, the best I have ever had.’ So, again a million thanks for your great post! I am sure we will have it again, and again, and soon! 🙂
Such a perfect recommendation, Christian. I’m really delighted….thanks for letting me know:)
I don’t even like aubergines (can tolerate them only the way Steve’s Italian family makes it: paper thin and dried overnight before cooking). But that makes me reconsider my prejudices. Beautiful!
Many thanks, Michelle. Praise indeed:)
Hell yeah, love the purple phallice!! A great read as always! Smiley face
Cheers…always good to see that you’ve passed by:)
I must have perused and followed dozens of recipes for this favourite dish in my lifetime and I have always thought of food and its preparation in a sensual manner – but never have I read such an invitingly sexy and unforgettable description of its making: methinks have to share with friends . . . and definitely not just for the recipe . . . . brilliant writing Milord . . .
It’s definitely a dish to be shared…and many thanks for that, Eha:)
wish I could reach through the screen and have some of it for dinner. Right up my alley!!!
Nothing is more inspiring than this post. Both your prose and your photographs are so wonderful I can almost smell your melanzane alla Parmigiana.
I love the moment when it comes out of the oven and I know its worked out well, again:)
Bull’s pizzle. Ay, Roger, you sure know how to complement a vegetable.
Howsomever, I do ring that now I want to nip out to the supermarket and pick one up to try this. Your photographs make my tummy rumble 🙂
Excellent. A fine Bull’s Pizzle Parmigiana will warm the cockles 🙂
How on earth did you resist eating this long enough to take it outside and photograph it?
Unbelievable will power, as I’m sure your aware:)
yum this looks delicious! reminds me of a Julia Child aubergine recipe i cooked the other night.. definitely will also be giving this recipe a go. thanks for sharing!
…hope you enjoy it and thanks for visiting 🙂
Given the G.O.’s disaffection for many veges, including eggplant other than in the form of baba ganoush, possibly this might sway him 🙂
I have to say that I love baba ganoush as well. The good thing about this dish for non lovers of aubergine is the intense flavour of the other ingredients.
Looks fantastic. We got a few at the farmers market yesterday too!
They always make something good…this is a great time of year for fruit and vegetables:)
Now I’ve taken a gulp of air from ranting about doctors with Chef Mimi I wanted to let you know I stopped at the vegetable stall in Epsom market after reading this post and bought two beautiful aubergines. I am going to try your recipe tonight. I’ve never had any luck with aubergines in my greenhouse. Not quite sure what I’m doing wrong. Take care. Emma xx
Glad to hear you’ve been ranting….I’m not keen on the title “Chef” any way! This recipe is a very delicious way of eating aubergines. Don’t over fry the aubergine slices and don’t do it in deep oil…you just want a hot covering on the bottom of the pan and add more as you need it…aubergines drink up a lot of oil. I have a dish next to the frying pan with sheets of kitchen roll on which I lay the cooked slices …adding a sheet of kitchen towel for each slice..
Aubergines are a delightfully “meaty” piece of vegetable. This dinner looks like just the ticket!
You’re right…it’s the meatiness that makes them work so well:)
Wow, that looks amazing