- Lactose Free
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 30 min
- Cook time: 40 min
- Serving: 4 people
- Cost: Low
Parmigiana lovers will find this culinary delight that combines a frugal lunch like the sandwich with one of the cornerstones of home cooking, simply impossible to resist! An unusual take on a typical summer delicacy, this parmigiana sandwich is sure to be a hit. Of course, it’s not the only recipe that’s great between two fragrant slices of bread – just think of other great classics such as the frittata, meatballs in sauce, and panelle (Sicilian chickpea fritters) – but the soft and juicy texture of the parmigiana and the slight stringiness of the cheese will make this the perfect filling for your sandwich. We’ll show you how to “build” your parmigiana sandwich right onto your bread, and you’ll see just how simple it is and how much sooner you’ll be able to tuck in! This great idea also means, of course, that you can enjoy your parmigiana sandwich anywhere: at home, at work, or even at a picnic... Who could resist!
How to prepare Parmigiana sandwich
To prepare your parmigiana sandwich, start with the sauce. Heat a little oil together with a peeled clove of garlic in a saucepan 1. After a few moments, add the tomato puree 2, followed by the basil leaves. Stir, cover with a lid, and leave to cook on low heat for around 25 minutes 3.
Allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once cooked, remove the garlic and add salt to taste 4. Meanwhile, prepare the eggplants. First, wash and dry them, then slice them to a thickness of ?” (2-3 mm) to obtain exactly 20 round slices 5. Heat a good glug of vegetable oil in a saucepan, and once it reaches 340°F (170°C) (we recommend using a thermometer to check), immerse a few pieces into the oil at a time 6.
Once golden brown, which should take 1-2 minutes, drain the slices on paper towel 7. Next, move on to the bread. Cut the rolls in half using a serrated knife 8, then set the tops aside and remove a good part of the crumb 9 from the inside of the base.
Now for the filling. Start by pouring a little sauce into the hollowed-out base 10, then place 3 slices of eggplant inside 11, trying to leave a little space in the middle 12 as you do so.
Continue with a little more sauce 13, a spoonful of Parmigiano 14, and then two more slices of eggplant 15.
Top with basil 16, more tomato 17, and cheese 18.
Gradually transfer the stuffed rolls onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper 19, add the tops separately and sprinkle them with Parmigiano cheese 20. Bake in a hot oven at 390°F (200°C) for around 10 minutes, then switch to broil mode at 460°F (240°C) for a couple of minutes 21.
Only brown the bread; do not let it burn 22. Finally, place the tops back onto the filled halves 23 and your parmigiana sandwiches are ready to serve 24.
These parmigiana sandwiches are best eaten immediately. If necessary, you can keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but there is a risk that the bread may become too soft. Not recommended for freezing.
You don’t have to salt the eggplant before using it in the recipe to get rid of its bitter taste – the varieties selected in recent years do not require this step.
However, you can do so if you like a drier effect when frying; simply sprinkle coarse salt over the eggplant slices, and remember to rinse them thoroughly and pat them perfectly dry before using them in the recipe.
All that’s left is to customize your parmigiana sandwich, maybe jazzing it up with a mortadella or slices of hard-boiled egg, like they do in Catania. Try drained and diced mozzarella or sliced caciocavallo cheese if you really want to take things to the next level!