Eggplant Parmigiana with Panko Crumb Garnish and Balsamic Glaze

2 medium eggplant
1 tablespoon table salt
olive oil, for frying
250ml balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 whole fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into 1/2cm slices
1/2 cup chargrilled capsicum strips
micro herbs, to garnish
Tomato sauce
250g tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Panko crumble
1 tablespoon olive oil
50g butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup panko crumbs

Eggplant parcels can be made in ramekins up to a day in advance. Turn out of ramekins on to baking tray to cook. You will need to increase cooking time slightly to ensure they are hot.

For a family size version of this great dish, simply double ingredients and layer and cook in a large baking dish.

If you don’t have a mouli to make tomato sauce, simply push cooked, peeled tomatoes through a sieve.

You can make chargrilled capsicum strips or use bottled ones if you are short of time.

  1. Thinly slice eggplants lengthways. Sprinkle with salt. Stand for 10-15 minutes before rinsing away excess salt and draining on absorbent paper. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan. Add eggplant slices in batches and cook until browned on both sides. Cool. Cut in half lengthways.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. To prepare the tomato sauce, cook tomatoes in a saucepan of boiling water until their skins burst. Drain. Cool slightly and remove skins. Place through a mouli and discard solids.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. To make balsamic glaze, bring vinegar to the boil in a medium saucepan. Boil gently until reduced by half.
  6. To prepare the panko crumble, heat oil and butter in a small frying pan. Add garlic. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add panko crumbs. Cook, stirring, until golden and crisp.
  7. Line the insides of four greased ramekins with the eggplant slices, leaving an overhang. Layer centre with tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and capsicum. Fold over eggplant slices to seal. Invert ramekins onto an oven tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle tops of eggplant parcels with panko crumbs.
  8. Cook in the oven for about 12 minutes or until hot. Remove from oven. Stand 2 minutes.
  9. Transfer parcels to serving plates. Garnish with micro herbs and a little balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.