Chef Javier Burillo has some classic Italian dishes so easy to make that even an amateur can pull it off.
This Italian favorite reminds us of home-cooked meals from our mothers. It has tasty layers of eggplant, tomato, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Topped with a thick layer of bread crumbs makes it even better!
- 1/2 kilogram chicken fillet, cut into strips 1-inch wide and 1 inch long
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 3 medium-sized eggplants, cut into 1-inch slices
- 1 large tomato, cut in wedges with seeds and pulp removed. Reserve the inside part of the tomato as we will use it for stuffing. If only using the outside part of the tomato, dice it finely.
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional) 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese or smoked mozzarella cheese (you can use cheddar or any other type of cheese you like)
1. Season the chicken with salt and set it aside.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a pan over medium heat until hot.
3. Dip the eggplants into boiled water to prevent them from getting brown, then fry in batches until golden brown.
4. In a separate pan, heat 4 tablespoons of oil and sauté onions until translucent, then add the garlic and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder (optional). Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Strain off any excess liquids in the sauce to avoid it being too runny or oily.
5. Now, prepare the mozzarella by cutting it into 4 parts. Next, cut a thick slice off one of the pieces to create a lid for your cheese mound.
6. Take another part and cut it lengthwise into 2 halves, then cut each piece in half horizontally to get 4 thick slices–you are dividing each piece into 8 strips. Season the mozzarella with salt and pepper, then stuff each end of your eggplant shell using strips lengthwise, so it resembles lace, alternating one long strip with 2 short strips.
7. Dip the stuffed eggplants into beaten eggs to moisten all sides, then dredge in bread crumbs. If you use smoked mozzarella, you can skip this step.
8. Fry the stuffed eggplants in batches until golden brown on all sides, then set aside.
9. In a baking tray, place a thin layer of sauce at the bottom and place your fried eggplant shells over it (make sure to stuff the open end first before putting them together). Then spoon some sauce on top of each eggplant shell.
10. Take the chicken strips and layer it over the eggplants, then spoon more sauce over them. Add another layer of eggplants on top, followed by some more sauce if needed. Finally, sprinkle some more bread crumbs if you like your dish to be nice and crunchy or cheese if desired.
11. Bake at 180°C or 350°F for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with white rice and salad on the side. Makes 2 servings.