A collection of original recipies and some great stories about the men who play in the kitchen at The Boomerang Social Club at Grand and May streets in Chicago. This is for them!
Melanzane di John (Eggplant Parmesano)
Every Italian has tasted Italian style breaded eggplant or eggplant Parmesan. Melanzane, correctly pronounced : (moulon-john)
John Testa Sr. – Joe Testa – Me – Dad
In the case of this entree, the “John” mentioned in the name of the dish is actually John Testa, my paternal uncle. Husband to my father’s youngest sister, Tina. Father to Linda, John, Sandra, Joseph, Sam, Andrew and Anthony and grand father/great grandfather to more than I can begin to name in this post (like John, Joe, Angela, Michael, Tara, Jaime, Samantha, Eric, Andrea, Melissa, Anthony, Paula, and about a dozen more.
– Tsp. oregano.
Saute the onion and garlic for approx. 5 min. Add the tomato sauce and season with oregano. Add salt if desired. Simmer for about 30-45 minutes. Let cool and set in fridge overnight.
(A tip: Italian gravy (it’s not sauce) is best the second day, third day etc.
(the day before cooking)
First peel the eggplant, then slice it into rounds (circles).
Place a strainer in a bowl and start the first layer of eggplant. Sprinkle the layer with salt and add another layer of eggplant and salt then put a paper towel on top of it. Repeat layering the same way until all the eggplant is in the strainer. Now use a plate that fits inside the strainer so that it’s pressing on the eggplant. Put something weighted on top of the plate ( I use a large can of tomato sauce, puree or tomatoes). This is to drain out the water and acid. Put this in the fridge overnight.
Mix breadcrumbs with the fresh minced garlic, parsley and pepper.
Beat the eggs and milk in a bowl large enough to dip the eggplant into.
Start heating a large skillet with oil (you can use olive or the oil of your choice). Now dip the eggplant into the beaten eggs and then into the breadcrumb mixture. Fry to golden brown – set on a platter . Continue until all is done.
Pre-heat the over to 350 degrees.
Using a rectangular glass baking pan, pour a laddle of sauce on the bottom of the pan , then arrange a layer of the eggplant. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover with more sauce, continue layering this way until all the eggplant is in the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or so – until it’s heated through. Let sit for 15 minutes before cutting.
There are a dozen ways to enjoy this delicious entre’. It can be a main dish, or a side dish. But there is one thing for sure. If set out on a buffett…it will disappear very fast.