'a parmigiana di zucchine
for a small pan of 6 portions, about 7 x 9”
1.5 kg / 3 lbs white zucchini (the pale green kind if you can find them, if not any zucchini will do)
extra virgin olive oil
finely ground semolina (or corn flour)
provola (relatively fresh, not aged, soft, mild, cow’s milk cheese)
parmigiano reggiano, grated
soppressata / a rough grain calabrese salame with some hot pepper, thinly sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, thickly sliced
2 cloves garlic
handful of sweet basil
Slice the zucchini in rounds that are roughly 1/2” thick or less, toss them with salt and let them sit in a colander to release liquid for 20-30 minutes (do not rinse). Dry the zucchini thoroughly in a clean dish cloth, toss in semolina flour or corn meal and fry in olive oil until golden.
Make a simple red sauce with the tomato puree, enough water to clean out the bottle, 2 whole cloves of garlic, a handful of sweet basil leaves and salt to taste. Let it boil for about 10 minutes or until it reduces slightly.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking pan, cover with a thick layer of overlapping slices of fried zucchini and then add in layers: small spoonfuls of tomato sauce, a sprinkling of grated parmigiano cheese, a layer of thinly sliced provola, thick slices of hardboiled eggs, a few small bits of very thinly sliced salame (don’t overdo the salame, it’s best if it’s just a suggestion of flavor), and few more spoonfuls of sauce. Top with another thick layer of overlapping slices of fried zucchini, a sprinkling of grated parmigiano and a tiny bit of sauce.
Bake at 180C/350F for 20-25 minutes until the cheese melts and the top browns a bit. Serve warm or room temperature.
RESTRAINT with both the sauce and with the salame is key.
If you can't find a good (coarse grain, hand-made, properly aged)salame, leave it out.
If you can't find provola you can substitute with any young, mild, cow's milk cheese (like scamorza .. note that provolone is aged longer and therefore more pungent than provola and so not appropriate for this recipe).
This is Agata Zocali's calabrese parmigiana .. the better-known form of this recipe is made with eggplant, prepared in exactly the same way substituting slices of eggplant for the zucchini and leaving out the salame.