I could almost call these mini parmigiana, but there is no Parmesan, so I am not quite sure. Still, same principle, but they are little individual portions, and they look quite good for a party, entree or fancy dinner.
Slice the eggplants and 'sweat' with salt for at least an hour. Rinse and pat dry. At this stage you can either fry the eggplant slices (with olive oil) or grill/bake them. If you fry them they are tastier, but a bit greasy (remove excess oil with kitchen paper) and it does take time! If you decide to grill them or bake them just put them on a baking tray lined with kitchen paper, brush with olive oil and add a pinch of salt. Place under the grill or in fan oven at 180°C until they look cooked on one side, turn them over and cook them on the other side. The grill is quicker, the oven tends to dry them up, so when I turn them I also cover them with more baking paper so that they keep some 'steam'. I prefer the baking method but for special occasions I fry!! Once you have your cooked eggplants add a little Italian tomato passata sauce on top, and a bit of mozzarella (I got mine from Massimiliano il Casaro). Place back in the oven until the mozzarella starts to melt. Serve individually or stack two together (like I did). Top with fresh basil, or fresh thyme or oregano (I used thyme). Eat hot or warm. I had them cold too, ok but not as good as hot! Variations are endless, and they look like mini pizzas, but without the dough!
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©