Our second attempt at eggplant Parmesan today. This time we got some basil from Namdhari’s and some fresh Italian mozzarella (as compared to the Britannia, Amul ones that we had earlier used) to make the dish.
The mozzarella cheese was a revelation. For just less than Rs. 100 a ball, this cheese, branded as Vallombrosa, was as fresh as it gets. Turned out that it was being made practically in our neighborhood by a Benedictine monastery, and used by all well known continental restaurants in Bangalore including our favorite Herbs and Spice. For more about the monastery which makes this cheese, read here and here.
The recipe we used was a variation of Elise’s recipe at Simply Recipes. However, we made some changes to the recipe. For curing the eggplant of it’s moisture, we used the microwave method given in the latest Cook’s Illustrated edition. The specific article is here. We also didn’t try breading the eggplant, as frankly we didn’t have the time to do that on a packed weekday night. I really don’t know what we missed by not breading(Crunchiness?). We also cooked the sauce, unlike Elise’s recipe, simply because it was too runny otherwise. To pair up we toasted some bread brushed with olive oil.
The basil and the mozarella lent a distinctiveness to the final outcome as compared to our last attempt. The sauce turned out really nice. The only problem was that one eggplant is too less for this recipe. You need at least two to have enough material to create the layers – we could barely create two layers. Also, by thickening the sauce, we ran a bit short of the sauce too. Oh well, we have to try this again to keep perfecting it. For a meat lover like me, this is one of those rare vegetarian dish that I look forward to.And yes, we used the convection mode in our microwave to actually make the dish. It turned out really well. Taking advantage of the heat, we toasted the bread in it too. It was those rare moments when we used the microwave for reasons other than reheating or defrosting food. :)