The Jewish holiday Shavuot begins at sunset this Sunday, May 16 and ends at sunset on Tuesday, May 18. Shavuot is also known as the Jewish Festival of Weeks and it commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Torah. There are many traditions associated with this lovely holiday such as reading The Book of Ruth (one of my favorite books in the Hebrew Bible) and feasting on dairy foods. To learn more about Shavuot go to chabad.org/Shavuot. To celebrate this holiday I will be sharing some of my favorite dairy recipes.

We start with eggplant parmesan. I learned how to make this dish during my travels in Italy in the fall of 2016. This is how they make eggplant parmesan in Florence Italy. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into ¼” to 1/2” slices
  • Canola oil—enough to fill the bottom of a heavy gauge pot with two inches of oil
  • ½ to1 cup of flour
  • canola oil
  • 1 quart tomato sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • olive oil
  • 6 garlic, chopped
  • 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ to1 cup of Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, option

Lightly flour both sides of the eggplant slices. Heat the canola oil in the pot. It is ready when you sprinkle some flour in it and it sizzles. Place the floured eggplant slices in the hot oil and fry for about one minute per side. They are ready when each side is a light yellow. Drain on paper towels.

If you are using store bought tomato sauce, sautée the chopped garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil for a couple of minutes. Add the store bought tomato sauce and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped basil leaves and salt and pepper to taste. If you are using homemade tomato sauce, you can skip this step.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a baking dish, pour enough tomato sauce to barely cover the bottom of the dish. Place one layer of eggplant slices on top of the tomato sauce. Spoon some of the tomato sauce over each eggplant slice, then sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Continue layering eggplant slices, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese with the remaining eggplant slices. Top with extra tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the Parmesan cheese has melted.

Garnish with chopped parsley or basil.

Serves 6

Adapted from Chef Claudio Piantini of Figline, Italy