Chef Sabyasachi Gorai has a new-fangled recipe of the Italian classic Aubergine Parmigiana that features eggplant/baigan, broccoli and two types of cheese.
This dish is usually served in Italy with grilled meat or fish, salad and garlic bread. A lightly-flavoured pasta or buttered wide noodles (tagliatelle) and/or a bowl of soup works well too.
If you have eggplant/baigan-fans around, offer it up as a lovely starter.
Chef Sabya is currently working on re-vamping the menu at Kolkata's European cuisine eatery Cafe Mezzuna with Mediterranean touches.
- 2 brinjals/baigan or aubergines, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red capsicum or bell pepper, cored, deseeded, finely diced
- 100 gm broccoli florets, finely chopped
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 50 gm walnuts, chopped + 15 whole walnuts
- 125 gm mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 400 gm tomato puree
- 1 tbsp or more finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- Salt to taste, about 1½ tsp
- Dash black pepper powder, preferably freshly crushed
- Butter to grease the ovenproof dish
- Preheat an oven to 200°C.
- Brush the aubergine/baigan slices with a little olive oil and griddle or fry for 1-2 minutes on each side either in a frying pan or in a foil-lined tray in a grill.
- Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and saute the bell pepper, broccoli florets, chopped tomatoes.
Add the 15 whole walnuts and cook for 4-5 minutes more until soft.
Season with salt and the pepper powder.
Stir for a few minutes and take off heat and keep aside.
- Select 12 of the largest aubergine/baigan slices and place on a cutting board.
Place half a slice of mozzarella in the centre of each aubergine/baigan.
Divide the bell pepper-broccoli-tomato filling into 12 equal parts and a portion on top of the mozzarella on each aubergine/baigan slice.
Roll up the aubergine/baigan slices and pin with toothpicks.
Placing the sealed side down, line up the stuffed aubergines in a buttered ovenproof dish.
Finely chop any remaining aubergine/baigan slices and stir it into the tomato puree.
Pour the puree over the aubergine/baigan rolls and scatter the remaining mozzarella too, along with the chopped walnuts.
Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese and bake for 30 minutes until golden and tender.
Editor's Note: Consider adding 2 tsp garlic paste while frying up the veggies. A little chopped onion might be welcome too.
If not weight watching, up the cheeses a tad in this dish.
Pine nuts are expensive, but are an interesting alternative to walnuts.
Add a few tbsp fried up chicken or mutton kheema or mince in the tomato puree for a meaty taste.
For vegan Aubergine/baigan Parmigiana use vegan cheese.
In addition to tomato puree, consider smothering the eggplant rolls, before baking, with a little white sauce too. For the white sauce: Warm 1 cup milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat with a ¼ of a small onion chopped, 1 tej patta or bay leaf.
Take off heat and let it infuse for 30 minutes.
In another saucepan, melt a 2 tsp butter over low heat.
Add 2-3 tsp maida or all-purpose flour.
Add the infused-milk and whisk over low heat till you get a thick, smooth, lump-free paste.
Fish out the bay leaf and discard and add several tbsp of this white sauce as a layer to the aubergine/baigan rolls along with the tomato puree.
Chef Sabyasachi Gorai is a consultant chef and mentor.