Last summer we hopped from beach to beach, exploring some of the more secluded and chilled out beach clubs and restaurants in Ibiza. One of my favourites was the Experimental Beach, where I tried the most incredible aubergine parmigiana for lunch. Fresh, tasty and not at all what I had expected, our lunch turned out to be one of the most memorable dining experiences of the holiday.
Getting to the beach was an experience in itself. Our taxi driver took us to Cap D’es Falco, in the south of the island. We were taken along winding roads, past man-made lakes, mountains of salt, and a flamboyance of flamingos. As we arrived, the staff were busy setting up, so we took a seat and relaxed with a coffee. While the beach beds were prepared for the day, we took in the sea view.
An experimental aubergine parmigiana
After a lazy day, chilling in the late summer sun and listening to chilled Ibizan beats, we sat down for lunch on the veranda. I ordered the Melanzane. I’m a big fan of aubergine parmigiana, and I order it quite often when we’re in Italy. However, I’ve never had it quite like this. Although all the traditional elements are there, this deconstructed version is a fresh twist on the Italian classic. Thick slices of aubergine and juicy tomato are topped with just melting buffalo mozzarella, and a golden parmesan crisp.
Inspired by my trip to Ibiza and lunch at the Experimental Beach, this aubergine parmigiana is an experiment that has definitely paid off. Anyone can make it with this easy recipe. It is especially gorgeous as a starter or a light main dish, with a side salad.
An easy Italian recipe, inspired by Experimental Beach in Ibiza
- 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella
- 1 aubergine (eggplant)
- 2 large vine tomatoes
- 25 g parmesan
- A grind of black pepper
- A sprinkling of dried oregano
- A handful of fresh basil leaves
- A drizzle of olive oil extra virgin
Cut the aubergine into 1cm thick slices and spread out on an oven tray. Sprinkle with a pinch of dried oregano and a liberal splash of extra virgin olive oil and place in a pre-heated fan oven at about 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes
Next, slice the tomatoes in the same way and sprinkle with more dried oregano
After about 15 minutes, turn the aubergine slices over and add the tomato slices. Place back in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes
Line another oven tray with greaseproof paper and grate the parmesan into a couple large piles of shavings
Place the parmesan in the oven for about 5 minutes, until melted and golden brown. Keep a close eye on this as it can burn quite quickly. Once cooked, place in a sealed container, so that it stays nice and crispy
Make a light dressing with a few finely chopped basil leaves and a glug of olive oil and dribble in the centre of a plate, once ready to serve
After about 30 minutes, take the aubergine and tomatoes out of the oven. Place 3-4 slices of the aubergine on the plate first and then tower up with 2-3 slices of the tomato. Top with a couple 1cm thick slices of buffalo mozzarella
Grind the black pepper over the dish and place 1-2 whole basil leaves on top. Add the parmesan crisp at a jaunty angle and enjoy!