Ringo Starr turns 75 today – to celebrate we dug up an old classic – his crispy eggplant parmigiana. He’s celebrating at Capitol Records in LA with his wife, ex Bond girl Barbara Bach, drummer Jim Keltner, former Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver drummer Matt Sorum, and a posse of musicians from his own All Starr Band, by encouraging the internet to share messages of #peaceandlove at noon their local time.
What’s the secret to his longevity? “I’m obsessed with broccoli,” Ringo said in a recent Daily Mail story, “I eat it every day with absolutely everything. Even when I cook a basic dish like pasta and pesto I throw in some broccoli. I don’t have it with breakfast though – that would be strange. But broccoli is my secret to looking young.”
I prefer these without the lemon zest – that way the flavour of the Parmesan shines through. They wind up crispy on the outside, soft and creamy within. Happy birthday Ringo!
Crispy Eggplant Parmigiana
Adapted via Rachel Ray.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup Panko or dry breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
2 medium eggplants
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 28 oz. can San Marzano-style tomatoes (whole in puree) or your favourite tomato sauce
1/2 cup pesto (optional)
3/4-1 cup grated provolone, mozzarella or your favourite melty cheese
Preheat the broiler. Get out three shallow bowls: put the flour in one, beat the eggs lightly with a fork in another, and put the Panko, Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley and lemon zest (if using) in the third. Cut the ends off the eggplant and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Set a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and add a generous drizzle of oil. Coat the eggplant slices first with flour, then dip them in egg, then in the breadcrumb mixture to coat on both sides. Cook in batches in the pan – without crowding – for 2-3 minutes per side, until deep golden. Transfer to a parchment lined baking dish or sheet.
Meanwhile, warm the tomatoes or tomato sauce, and stir in some pesto if you like. Spoon the sauce over the eggplant, then top with grated cheese. Run under the broiler for a minute, just until the cheese melts and is bubbly. Serve immediately. Serves 6.