Eggplant Parmesan, when you read or hear it you may perhaps think of a sandwich or a layered lasagna like casserole.
The truth is that Eggplant Parmesan (Melanzane alla Parmigiana) is a side dish! I was surprised to find this out seeing that my experience in every Italian restaurant I went to, it was presented as a meatless entree accompanied with pasta.
Think of it as a casserole similar to the American vegetable cheese bakes that we find.
The beautiful thing about Eggplant Parmesan is that it may be prepared in many forms; it may be layered and baked like Lasagna or in ramekins as an individual portion. No mater what way you make it, you most likely have your own family favorite way to prepare Eggplant Parmesan.
With that said, I decided to prepare and taste five versions--each different in its own way. I suggest reading them all and then choose one that interests you!
San Marzano tomatoes are recognized for their fleshier pulp and low seed content.
The flavor of these tomatoes are preferred to many for Italian cooking due to, what I feel, is their clean full sweet tomato flavor.
Many commercially available tomato products in cans are packed with salt and citric acid. Citric acid and salt gives a higher tomato flavor perception which, for many American palates is preferred.
True San Marzano tomatoes are only found grown in the soils of the Agro Sarnese Nocerino region of Italy near Mount Vesuvius. It is that volcanic soil combined with the genetics of the plant that produce this world renowned tomato.
Some tomato product you will find say they are from domestic sources made from San Marzano seed. True San Marzano tomatoes will have the DOP seal. DOP stands for 'Denominazione d'Origine Protetta' . In English, that's 'Denomination of Protected Origin' .
DOP is guaranteed by the European Union and was created to promote the authenticity and genuine characteristics of certain food and agricultural products across the continent.
Marinara (alla marinara ‘sailor-style’) Named so for its ease in preparation by the sailors at sea. This great sauce is not limited to seafood and you will see it more often used as dips, on pizzas, as well as in pasta dishes.
This Marinara sauce recipe is a great base sauce for all your Italian cooking needs. Think of it as a mother sauce.
Rose Flower Water was created by Muslim Alchemists during medieval times which was done through the distillation of roses.
You will find Rose Flower Water used in recipes in Italy, France and Iran and all over Western Europe. It once was the most used flavor in baking until the arrival of vanilla. Rose syrup is used in France as well as the United States. You probably have had it and not realize it, it is found baked in scones and even marshmallows.
There are many Italian pastry recipes that have rose water as well as orange flower water in them. Many of the pastries on Cook-Italian.com! use one or both!
This recipe is simple and Splenda may be used instead of sugar.
1 -2 cap fulls (about 1/2 teaspoon ) of French, Turkish or Moroccan Rose Flower Water, NOTE: a little goes a long way. start with a 1/2 cap full and continue adding it to your preference. I used 2 cap fulls
And that's it!
Try it over vanilla gelato, add a spoonful into your lemonade or serve it alone with freshly whipped cream which is lightly sweetened.