Seven Pounds is one of those movies I could watch over and over again and it will still leave me breathless at the end! Will Smith has featured in a number of great movies but this might be my favorite one of him as he plays such a serious role. Over the years I’ve been recommending this movie to so many people, and when I last watched it I noticed it features a great recipe as well, giving me the perfect opportunity to post it here and share both a great movie tip and delicious recipe for Eggplant or Aubergine Parmesan with you all.
Released in 2008 and directed by Gabriele Muccino, Seven Pounds stars Will Smith in the role of the mysterious Tim Thomas, who sets out to to change the lives of seven carefully selected people, while pretending to be a fake IRS agent. While doing so, he falls in love with a girl called Emily Rosa (briliantly played by Rosario Dawson), who has a congenital heart condition and a rare blood type that has left her with only weeks to live.
Although the movie didn’t get raving reviews I truly loved it and was so caught off guard by the plot twist in this movie, which is why I won’t be telling you too much about the movie as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Now in the movie, you’ll see a very well known vegetarian meal: Parmigiana di Melanzane or Eggplant/Aubergine Parmesan. It’s an Italian dish, originated in the South of Italy, made with a shallow or deep-fried sliced aubergine filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked in the oven. There are two ways of making this recipe, you can go for the more American way, where the eggplant is dipped in beaten eggs and then breadcrumbs, or you can go for the more Italian way and leave this part out. I’ve decided to go with the Italian way of cooking the eggplant, and keep it as pure as possible.
Serves: 2-3 people
- 1 large aubergine (or 2 medium ones)
- 1 medium onion
- 1 clove of garlic, finely sliced
- handful of basil leaves
- 800g peeled tomatoes (tinned)
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 50g parmesan
- 250g mozzarella cheese
- olive oil
Slice the aubergine up in slices of about 1/1-1cm and sprinkle some some salt on each side, place them in a colander and leave them while you prepare the rest of the dish. The reason we’re doing this, is because aubergine sucks up liquid like a sponge and it makes it hard to create a tasty meal unless you drain as much of the liquid as possible. So make sure to do this step first as this will give the aubergines plenty of time to dehydrate.
Slice the onion in small pieces and finely slice the garlic. Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic. Fry them for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes along with the oregano, thyme and cut up basil leaves. Continue to cook until the tomatoes fall apart, which will be about 20-25 minutes or so.
While the sauce continues to cook, pat your aubergines dry with some paper towels and put them back in the colander. Once the tomato sauce is done, pat the eggplants dry one more time and heat up olive oil in a frying pan. Grill only a few slices at a time and don’t overcrowd your pan.
Since the aubergines will absorb the olive oil quickly, it’s important to add more with every batch you grill them. Don’t add too much though as they will become soggy and won’t brown at all. Just a few drops should do the trick as long as the pan is hot enough. Grill them until they have a lovely golden brown color.
Get a casserole ready and start layering up. I went for only 2 layers, but you can go for more if you want, it all depends on how big the casserole is of course. For the mozzarella I simply shredded it after slicing it up in layers as I didn’t want too much mozzarella in my meal. When you layer up, start with aubergine, then tomato sauce, mozzarella, grated parmesan, aubergine.. and so on. Add some more cut up basil leaves at the top and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 180° for 30 minutes.
You can serve this with some bread, couscous, pasta, salad and so on!