Melanzane al Forno con Mozzarella

Baked Aubergines with Mozzarella

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

In various parts of Europe, eating aubergines was once alleged to cause madness, leprosy, cancer and bad breath, and these superstitions led to its being used largely as a decorative plant. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the vegetables were established as a food in Italy and France. Sicilians love aubergines, as this delicious dish shows.

Ingredients

  • 500 g/1 ¼ lb aubergines/eggplants, sliced into 2cm/¾in rounds
  • 2 eggs
  • plain/all-purpose white flour, for coating
  • 350 ml/12 fl oz/1 ½ cups olive oil
  • 150 g/5 oz mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 salted anchovies, washed and boned, then chopped finely
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp stale white breadcrumbs
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Spread the aubergine slices out in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt. Stand the colander in the sink, fit a plate inside, put a weight on top and drain for 1-2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, put the eggs in a bowl. Season and beat them lightly.

  3. Rinse the aubergines to remove the excess salt, drain well, then pat dry with kitchen paper. Coat the slices lightly in flour.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. When it sizzles, add the aubergine, in batches if necessary, and fry for 3 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden.

  5. Remove the aubergine slices from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Arrange half the slices in a roasting pan. Top each one with a slice of mozzarella and a few pieces of anchovy.
  7. Cover the mozzarella with the remaining fried aubergine slices to form small sandwiches. Press these tightly together to prevent them from falling apart.

  8. Season with a little salt, sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumbs and bake for about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.