Aubergine the Über Gene….


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.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2014, aubergine, buffalo mozzarella, Cheese, Cooking, Digital photography, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, Italian food, Mediterranean food, Olive oil, Parmesan, Parmigiana Reggiano, pasta, Photography, photography course, sea salt, spaghetti olio aglio, tomatoes, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Aubergine the Über Gene….

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. jmcheney says:

    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!

  5. margaret21 says:

    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!

  6. cecilia says:

    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”

  7. Mad Dog says:

    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 😉

  8. 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.

  9. 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! 🙂

  10. suej says:

    I love Melanzane, but I shall have to make a version without cheese (alas, new diet to counter autoimmune disease). I love challenges!

  11. Probably (almost certainly) one of my very favourite dishes and yours is particularly sexy! (Even without mention of the pizzle 😉 )

  12. Rosa de los Vientos says:


  13. Just made it and ate it – it was fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration and recipe!

  14. Michelle says:

    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!

  15. Hell yeah, love the purple phallice!! A great read as always! Smiley face

  16. Eha says:

    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 . . .

  17. wish I could reach through the screen and have some of it for dinner. Right up my alley!!!

  18. Nothing is more inspiring than this post. Both your prose and your photographs are so wonderful I can almost smell your melanzane alla Parmigiana.

  19. 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 🙂

  20. How on earth did you resist eating this long enough to take it outside and photograph it?

  21. 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!

  22. EllaDee says:

    Given the G.O.’s disaffection for many veges, including eggplant other than in the form of baba ganoush, possibly this might sway him 🙂

  23. Looks fantastic. We got a few at the farmers market yesterday too!

  24. Hi Roger,
    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..

  25. Aubergines are a delightfully “meaty” piece of vegetable. This dinner looks like just the ticket!

  26. brincs says:

    Wow, that looks amazing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.