The Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Messina are teaming with Swordfish, such that the towns of Reggio Calabria and Messina (the two tips of the strait) have developed lots of ways to cook this amazing fish. They had the incredible idea of combining the taste and texture of swordfish with an Italian classic, the eggplant Parmigiana! This amazing Sicilian dish will surprise you!
400 gr (0.9 lb) fresh Swordfish (very thinly sliced, 0.125 or 1/8 inches)
750 ml (3 cups) of tomato sauce (bottled tomato “Passata”)
500 gr (1.25 lb) eggplant (dark round)
100 gr (3.5 oz) freshly grated Parmesan DOP
Small bunch of Basil
2 garlic cloves
½ tsp of powdered chili pepper
Ground black pepper
4 cups of sunflower oil
Fine Ground Mediterranean Salt
8 x 10-inch rectangular baking pan with high edges
Rinse the eggplant under cold running water and dry them with a clean cloth. Cut the top, dispose of it, and cut the eggplant in slices of 1/4 inch thick (cut by keeping the eggplants upright!). Lay them in layers in a large colander, with a generous sprinkle of coarse salt in between each layer. Cover with a plate and put a weight on it. Set aside for at least an hour in a sink or drain board. This procedure will cause them to lose their bitterness and you will see liquid drain from them as the salt leaches it out. After 1 hour, remove the weight from the eggplant and rinse one by one under cold running water, removing the salt. Arrange the eggplant slices on a kitchen towel and dab with paper towels to dry them. Set them aside.
Take a medium-sized frying pan, pour 4 cups of frying oil (preferably sunflower oil), and bring to a temperature of 180 °C/ 350 °F (if you don’t have a deep-frying thermometer, it will be necessary to heat the oil over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes).
Take the eggplant slices and fry them for about 3 minutes. Drain with the help of a skimmer and lay on a spacious surface covered with paper towels. Repeat this process until the eggplant slices are used up.
While deep-frying the eggplant, coat the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, add the mashed garlic cloves (peels on), the powdered chili pepper and 4 basil leaves. Sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes, then pour in all the tomato sauce, add a glass of water, stir it, cover with a lid, and let it simmer over medium-high heat for 30 minutes. When the sauce is ready, season with salt, ground black pepper and add 10 basil leaves.
At this point proceed as follows:
1) Coat the bottom of an 8 x 10-inch rectangular baking dish with tomato sauce.
2) Proceed with the first layer of eggplant, placed horizontally. Now add one ladle of tomato sauce and cover the first layer. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese. Lay half of the thinly sliced swordfish (to form a layer), then add one ladle of tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.
3) Now proceed with the second layer of eggplant, this time place perpendicular to the first layer (opposite direction as the first layer). Sprinkle with Parmesan. Proceed with the second layer of swordfish, then add one ladle of tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan.
4) Add another layer of eggplant (until exhaustion), then add one ladle of tomato sauce and sprinkle the surface with Parmesan.
5) Bake at 200 °C/ 400 °F for 20-25 minutes.
Once cooked, take the swordfish Parmigiana out of the oven, let it cool down for 10 minutes, then you can enjoy your meal.