Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of three cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious and now her new book, Homemade Happiness, are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know how much I love eggplant. When I saw that At My Table featured a recipe for one of my favourite dishes, Eggplant Parmigiana, I might have danced around the kitchen with the book clasped to my chest.
I had high expectations, and was prepared for disappointment, but Chelsea’s recipe is a definite winner. The first time I made it, Tall was out for a schmoozy work dinner, and I think I ate the portion that would have been his, as well as my own. The next day, friends came for a play date, and I cringe a little now as I recall that I actually forced them to try it (sorry ladies!).
The chunky, crunchy breadcrumbs on top were in delicious textural contrast to the soft eggplant, and the pinch of chilli flakes lifted an otherwise-ordinary tomato sauce to a soul-soaringly high level. The combination of flavours and textures all works so well to make a really tasty dish that is quite delightful to eat.
The recipe serves four, but as my kids don’t like eggplant (“It’s too mushy!” they cry), I serve this with a big green salad and some crusty bread, and there are enough leftovers for Tall’s lunch the next day, and dinner the next night.