I saw this Neil Perry recipe in the Good Weekend magazine last weekend and knew it was something my vegacquarian husband would love. I did modify the recipe slightly though, as it used 1kg of fresh tomatoes, which I substituted with tinned, and I reduced the quantity of cheese from 400g to 300g. I think some ricotta crumbled through the layers would also work beautifully. The breadcrumbs are a must, they add a wonderful texture to the dish. Aforementioned vegacquarian loved it.
2 x 400g tins of whole peeled tomatoes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
½ tsp raw sugar
6 large green zucchinis, sliced lengthways 3mm thick
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 cup plain flour, seasoned
Oil for shallow frying (I used canola)
100g parmesan, grated
200g mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
1 cup stale sourdough bread, roughly chopped
1. For the sauce, in a frying pan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add onion and salt and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes and the sugar, and fill one of the empty tins with water and add. Simmer gently for about 30 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break down the tomatoes if necessary. Set aside.
2. For the zucchini, whisk together milk, eggs, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Heat some oil on a medium heat in a large frying pan for shallow-frying. Working in batches, lightly flour the zucchini slices, then dip in egg mix and fry each side until golden (about a minute each side). Drain on paper towel.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C. Using a 2 1/2-litre baking dish, layer some of the tomato sauce mix on the bottom, top with a layer of zucchini, then with layers of parmesan, mozzarella and basil. Repeat until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden.
4. Meanwhile, process bread to form coarse breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan and cook crumbs over a low heat until golden and crisp, set aside. Once the parmigiana is cooked garnish with the breadcrumbs and serve.