While Eggplant Parm and Veal Parm taste similar, there are huge differences between the two. Whether you choose eggplant or veal, you’ll be indulging in a hearty Italian dish that is sure to warm you up this winter.
Eggplant Parm began as a simple veggie dish with tomatoes and cheese as they would in Southern Italy. The Eggplant varies depending on the dish. There are wider eggplant, smaller eggplant, and eggplant that varies in taste. The bigger ones are very watery, so they would be salted and let sit before rinsing, drying, and frying.
These slices are then fried with about half an inch of hot oil until golden brown on both sides. They are introduced to new oil between batches to keep it fresh and the eggplant is salted after being fried.
To make the perfect Veal Parmigiano, the meat needs a large surface area for all the additives. These include the crumbs, sauce, and cheese. Plus, the thinner the meat, the better it is for quick cooking. Some people do a variation on this with boneless skinless chicken breasts. The veal is bought in 1/3 inch thick cutlets. These cutlets are pounded thin between two sheets of plastic wrap, hit with a heavy item. After that, the veal is breaded with crumbs.
To get the crumbs onto the veal, the chef will use three separate bowls. One with flour, the second with an egg, and the third with dried bread crumbs. To each, salt and pepper are added. Other seasonings may be added to the bread crumbs such as red pepper, oregano, basil, etc.
In order to bread the veal, the chef will coat your cutlet in flour, shake off the excess, transfer it to the egg, then dip it into the bread crumbs. The flour keeps the breading from sticking to the meat too tightly and helps with cooking. The egg holds the breadcrumbs on. Then, your veal parm is fried until crispy.
Frying the Parm
In either case, Parmigiano frying is similar to the American Parmesan frying. Your chef will use a heavy pan over medium heat and a 1/2 inch of oil. Your Parm is flipped in the oil after one side is golden then taken out when the other side is. It takes about 5 minutes for frying.
The Sauce and Mozzarella
Marinara sauce is used with some tomato chunks. And, if it’s authentic Italian, you best believe it’s flavor-rich, loaded in herbs. This is placed in little spoons at a time over the fried Parm in a pan. To that, small, fresh mozzarella is used sparingly over the sauce and Parm. This is repeated a few times, for a few layers which is then baked at 375 Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes for Eggplant Parm and 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes for the veal until it’s all melted and combined. The Parm is then doused in fresh authentic Italian Parmesan cheese.
There’s a science behind these dishes, and you need a certain chef to do it right. Here, at Assaggio, we do it right. For an authentic Eggplant Parmigiana, try our dish made with layered eggplant, Neapolitan style. Call us today to book your reservation!