Eggplant Parmigiana is enjoyed throughout Italy but the basil used in this version gives it a Tuscan flavor.
Makes 6-8 servings
3 eggplants, sliced ¼” (6.35 mm) thick
1 tablespoon (15 ml) water
2 cups (475 ml) bread crumbs
1½ cups (350 ml) olive oil, more if needed
2 cups (475 ml) tomato passata or tomato sauce
¼ cup (60 ml) fresh basil, roughly torn
2 cups (475 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup (240 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
Thinly slice the eggplants into round discs. Sprinkle salt onto each slice and layer in a large colander. Leave for 30 minutes to extract the bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry each side.
In a small bowl beat the egg and water together. Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, coating evenly.
Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9"x13" (22.86 cm x 33.02 cm) oven-to-table casserole dish.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan to medium/high heat. Fry each eggplant slice until crisp and golden on each side, adding more olive oil as needed. Drain the excess oil off each slice after frying.
Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with the passata and then a layer of eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon more passata over the top of the eggplant and scatter some basil on top. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Continue this method of layering until all the ingredients have been used.
Bake for 30 minutes until the eggplant is tender, the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.