Torrisi's Eggplant Parm
Remember last winter I had this amazing eggplant parmigiana at Torrisi Italian Specialties in NYC? After I wrote about it, someone emailed me and said the recipe was available on line!
I saved my calories and waited for a Sunday (so I could be a slave to my stove all day frying up eggplant slices) to make this.
This is a labor of love. I HATE frying eggplant. I was going to show you a photo of my disgusting stove afterwards, but didn't want to discourage you from making this dish.
Eggplant Parm is probably my favorite dish in the world, however, there is a disclaimer attached to that statement.
It can only be made by certain people with homemade tomato sauce. The eggplant has to be sliced PAPER THIN and there can be NO ricotta cheese in this dish (even though I love eggplant rollatine with ricotta).
(I have had to eat mushy, oily, thick, disgusting eggplant and that can turn anyone into an eggplant hater).
I found out that Torrisi's secret to success is that they fry the eggplant with garlic and use Progresso breadcrumbs. They also use fresh wet mozzarella and a big bunch of fresh basil leaves. The assembly is pretty easy and it truly is the best version I have had. Even my husband loves it (and he is not an eggplant lover like me).
If you have a bottle of Windex (to clean your stove), then I suggest you make this for Sunday dinner.
Rich Torrisi's Recipe for Eggplant Parm: (courtesy of Food & Wine)
One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups seasoned dry Progresso bread crumbs
One 2-pound eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (they use Wisconsin cheese)
1 cup basil leaves
Preheat the oven to 375F°. In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes with their juices and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the sauce with salt.
You can make the sauce a few days ahead.
Put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in 3 large, shallow bowls. Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge the eggplant in the flour; shake off any excess. Dip the slice in the egg, letting any excess drip back into the bowl, then coat with the bread crumbs.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/8 inch of oil until shimmering. Line a rack with paper towels. Add one-third of the garlic and breaded eggplant to the hot oil. Cook over moderate heat, turning once and adjusting the heat as needed, until the eggplant slices are golden brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer the fried eggplant to the paper towels to drain. Using a slotted spoon, discard the fried garlic. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining garlic and breaded eggplant, wiping out the skillet and adding more oil as needed.
Lightly oil a 10-inch springform pan or baking dish (I used a Pyrex casserole). Line the bottom with a single layer of eggplant (don't put the sauce as the first layer, or it will be too mushy).
Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce over the eggplant.
Top with a few mozzarella slices and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons of the parmesan.
Tear one-third of the basil leaves over the cheese.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients for a total of 3-4 layers, ending with a layer of eggplant and a thick layer of tomato sauce. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. I added some fresh oregano leaves to the top as well.
Wrap the entire pan in foil and set it on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake the eggplant for about 45 minutes, until heated through.
Increase the oven temperature to 400°. Remove the foil from the top of the eggplant and bake for about 20 minutes longer, until lightly browned on top.
Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before unmolding. Cut into wedges and serve.
Worth every spot of grease on my stove.