Eggplant Parmesan Reconciliation

I like to think that I'm a good sort of person, not one that really holds a grudge. But I know that is not always true. I've had a grudge against eggplant parmesan for 8 years.

The last time that I had eggplant parmesan was in Boston in 2001 at a sandwich shop near the Financial Center. Two bites into that sandwich and I declared myself done with eggplant parmesan forever. Their take on it was a soggy, bland, runny mess tossed into a hard roll. My belly revolted and I was nauseated the rest of the day. Thus, my 8 year grudge.

On Wednesday I was visiting a pastry supplies shop in Beverly, a neighborhood on the very southwest edge of the city. I had never been to Beverly and I found it to be a charming neighborhood with beautiful houses set back from the street. I was hungry and looking for a place to eat. At 1905 West 103rd Street I noticed an Italian storefront called Calabria Imports and I pulled into the available parking right in front.

Once inside I found pantry items including imported pastas, nuts and sauces. On the right wall is a large refrigerator case holding gelatos, house-made sauces and more pastas. I headed to the back where there is a very long deli counter with meats, cheeses and plenty of salads on display. Above the counter is a menu announcing hot sandwiches, paninis and traditional Italian dinners. Perfect. It was about -5 degrees outside and I wanted something warm.

I was all set to order a dinner of mostaccioli when I noticed the dreaded eggplant parmesan on the menu. As stated before I have not had this dish in 8 years. Grudge aside, I was curious and asked the guy behind the counter how it was prepared. The response was: 'Sliced eggplant, fried in lotsa oil, layered with lotsa fresh mozza cheese, lotsa sauce, baked, an da roll. It's good'. I think it was his friendly Southside Chicago accent that convinced me to let my guard against this dish down and I ordered it.

Fifteen minutes later I was served a huge steaming portion of eggplant parmesan. I started right in and found it to be an outstanding dish. It was perfectly salted and so cheesy. I could also taste and feel the textures of the layers of fried eggplant. Even though I could have eaten it all, I stopped at half of the dinner and wrapped it to take home and share with Nate. I needed him to taste how wonderful it was so that it would be easy to talk him into the drive down to Beverly next week. Yes, it was that good. I'm clearly over my grudge thanks to Calabria Imports.

No comments:

Post a Comment