Originating in Asia since pre-history, the eggplant arrived in the Mediterranean area with the Arabs in the Middle Ages. In thirteenth-century Italian folklore, Ia melanzana was said to be a cause of insanity.
(A tasty way to madness…)
Thanks to Pino’s Sicilian roots, many of the ways we enjoy eggplant in summertime are linked to Sicily. His Mamma Vincenza’s melanzane alla parmigiana is a favorite dish – and we often enjoy her pasta alle melanzane.
On a coolish August day this year, I turned on the oven for a bit of “eggplant madness.” Here’s the recipe:
Baked Eggplants: A Bit of August “Madness”
2 – 3 medium-sized eggplants (NOT enormous ones!)
3 – 4 ripe Roma tomatoes
bunch of fresh basil
bread crumbs, about 1 c
grated Parmesan, q.b. (“quanto basta” or “as much as you need”)
gorgonzola (bleu cheese) – or similar – a few slices
Extra virgin olive oil, q. b.
salt, q. b.
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Slice eggplants and to reduce bitterness, let sit in heavily-salted water for about thirty minutes. Rinse well. Drain.
Dip eggplants into bread crumbs, flipping each one over so that crumbs cover both sides: