Eggplant Parmesan/Provencal

Back in Spanish Harlem, in our family's repertoire, one of the standby dishes was Eggplant Parmesan. Although we didn't call it that. We are vociferous eggplant eaters, and the dish was just another version which we knew as eggplant Italian style because we added grated cheese. To us, back then,  any dish that had Parmesan cheese in it was considered Italian; just like any dish that had soy sauce was considered Chinese. It was the innocence of the meat and potato days of yore.

What made our version delectable is that it contained crispy friend eggplant, which we loved. Add a little tomato sauce, grated Parmesan, some good crusty bread and you has a great meal. Later in life, I discovered the French Eggplant Provencal, which was the same damn thing minus the cheese. You just add some capers to it and baked the eggplant instead of frying. Also, to the French, Eggplant Provencal is normally served as an appetizer. Whichever method you use, if you're an eggplant lover, you'll savor the meal. And, even if you don't like eggplant, you just might change your mind.


1 medium-sized eggplant (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup olive oil or vegetable oil (or more for frying)
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce, heated

1. Blend flour, salt, pepper  and oregano on a plate or piece of wax paper and coat each eggplant slice well with mixture.
2. Heat half of the olive oil in a heavy skillet, and fry as many slices of eggplant as can be accommodated without crowding until crisp and brown on both sides. Transfer slices to a shallow heat-proof platter or pie plate, and keep warm.
3. Add remaining oil to skillet and brown rest of eggplant slices. Sprinkle half of browned eggplant in platter with a tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese. Add remaining slices and second tablespoon of cheese.
4. Pour hot sauce over and around eggplant. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, place under a hot broiler from 3 to 4 minutes, and broil briefly until cheese melts and is slightly brown.


1 medium-sized eggplant (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground  black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup capers

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Dip eggplant slices in olive oil, and arrange on a flat baking pan or dish (I prefer cast-iron). Bake 10-15 minutes or until tender.
 3. Crush garlic and brown lightly in a little olive oil in a small saucepan. Add tomato sauce and cook until hot. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and oregano.
4. Pour sauce over eggplant, sprinkle with capers and serve hot or cold.

For both recipes the yield is about 4 servings.
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