Parmigiana (also parmigiana di melanzane or melanzane alla parmigiana) is an Italian dish made with a shallow or deep-fried sliced aubergine filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked. Parmigiana made with a filling of eggplant (also called aubergine) is the earliest and still unique Italian version. Other variations may include chicken, veal, or another type of meat cutlet or vegetable filling. The origin of the dish is claimed by both the Southern regions of Campania and Sicily.
Eggplant Parmigiana Recipe
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 large eggplant, trimmed and cut crosswise into thin (½ cm) slices
- 1 cup pasta sauce
- ½ cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 175°C. Coat 2 large rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray.
- In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and oregano; mix well. In another shallow dish, place flour. In a third shallow dish, place eggs.
- Dip eggplant slices in flour, then egg, then bread crumb mixture, coating completely with each. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on baking sheets. Lightly coat tops of eggplant with cooking spray.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Spoon spaghetti sauce evenly over eggplant, then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 8 to 10 additional minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
International Variations of Parmigiana
Variations made with breaded meat cutlets, such as veal and chicken, have been popularized in other countries, usually in areas of Italian immigration.
In the United States and Canada, veal parmigiana or chicken parmigiana is often served as an entree, and sometimes is served as a submarine sandwich. It is also popular with a side of or on top of pasta. Diced onions or green capsicums (bell peppers), sauteed or raw, are sometimes added. The veal dish is known in Italian as Cotolette alla Bolognese.
Veal or Chicken Parmigiana is a common dish in Australia and Argentina and in both countries often served with a side of chips or salad. In Australia, it may also contain a variety of toppings, including sliced ham or fried eggplant (aubergine) slices.
In Argentina and in other neighboring South American countries, veal or chicken parmigiana is topped with ham and served with french fries. It is known as milanesa a la napolitana. If the dish is topped with a fried egg, then it is known as a súper milanesa or suprema napolitana. The origin of the dish was the Napoli restaurant in Buenos Aires during the 1940s. (See also Milanesa napolitana (Spanish).)
A similar dish, the parmo, which uses either pork or chicken, has developed in England.
In Brazil Parmigiana is a popular dish at restaurants, this dish came with the Italian immigrants, the largest Italian colony outside of Italy is in Brazil. There are three kinds of Parmigiana in Brazil:
- Filé de frango a Parmegiana – Chicken filet Parmigiana,
- Berinjela a Parmegiana – Eggyplant Parmigiana and;
- Meat Parmegiana. For the meat Parmigiana there are three types of meat cut used – Two prime cut of meat are used; Filé Mignon à Parmegiana and Contra-filé à Parmegiana, and the third being Bife à Parmegiana (simple beef).
The Parmigiana in Brazil is generally served with white rice and french fries or with pasta and tomato sauce.