Sicilians have hundreds of delicious recipes for eggplant. Here's one of the simplest, and naturally my favorite. The classic combination of simple ingredients is simply delicious. I have served this to my Northern Italian friends. They all love it, especially if served with a glass of Nero d'Avola red, born on the Southern shores of this heavenly island!
1Wash and slice up eggplants in 1/2 inch slices. Place in large bowl, make layers with eggplant slices and sprinkle each one with coarse salt. place a weight, e.g. pile of plates, on top. Wait 15 mins for bitter water to come out.
2In the meanwhile, prepare basic tomato sauce: fry the onion, thinly sliced in 5 Tsp extra virgin olive oil, until soft and lightly colored but not brown. Add tomatoes, the bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, and cook on low heat for 10 mins. Reserve.
3Prepare bread crumbs mix: in a bowl mix breadcrumbs with Parmigiano,chopped parsley and chopped garlic. Add 4 Tsp olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
4Scrape salt off each slice, brush with olive oil and grill on hot cast-iron griddle for one and a half / two minutes on each side / or until slightly soft and nice grill pattern appears on surface
5Preheat oven on gas mark 6, and prepare rolls: place some ham, a piece of provola and some breadcrumbs mix on each eggplant slice, and form rolls. Secure rolls with toothpick. Keep some breadcrumbs for the garnish.
6Grease a baking tin with some olive oil, place eggplant rolls side by side. Pour tomato sauce and garnish with the remaining breadcrumbs. sprinkle with remaining olive oil. Cook in the oven for about 25 mins. Before serving, remove toothpicks and allow to cool for a couple of mins. Can be eaten hot or at room temperature. Watch a video of how I prepare this dish by clicking on the "video" icon underneath the picture on this page.