Gallery: Behind The Scenes: Rubirosa's Eggplant Parmesan

Rubirosa's Eggplant Parmesan
Rubirosa's Eggplant Parmesan

Served in individually-sized cast iron skillets, Rubirosa's eggplant parmesan is a thing of beauty.

The chef
The chef

Executive Chef Al Di Meglio gave us a personal behind-the-scenes demo of how they make this popular dish.

It all starts with an eggplant
It all starts with an eggplant

The eggplant gets peeled and sliced for frying.

Sliced eggplant
Sliced eggplant

That eggplant doesn't even see what's coming.

Ready for breading
Ready for breading

The eggplant slices get a coating in each of three bowls: first flour (hiding off to the right of the eggs), then salt-and-peppered eggs, and finally a mixture of breadcrumbs and panko, for extra crispiness.

All breaded!
All breaded!

Ready to be turned into crispy-fried deliciousness.

But wait!
But wait!

Before the eggplant gets fried, Al hand-makes the mozzarella. He begins by pouring hot steaming salt water over the cheese curds.

Back in the olden times sea water was used, so the water Al uses here has the approximate saltiness of the ocean.

Mozzeralla-making
Mozzeralla-making

The curds and water are combined until you have a smooth, elastic, knead-able cheese blob.

Voila!
Voila!

Al wraps up the finished mozzarella in plastic and leaves in the freezer to cool.

About to fry
About to fry

The oil awaits.

Frying!
Frying!

Those humble breaded eggplant slices now get transformed from this...

Frying!
Frying!

...to this!

Basil
Basil

Some lovely leaves of basil are prepped for chopping.

Basil
Basil

Choppity-chop-chop.

Mozzeralla
Mozzeralla

And the just-made mozzarella emerges from chilling.

Let the layering begin
Let the layering begin

Now everything begins to come together. Eggplant, red sauce, mozzarella, basil, and parmesan all get carefully layered into the iron skillets.

Almost ready....
Almost ready....

One last sprinkling of parmesan....

Fully assembled
Fully assembled

All set to bake!

It's getting hot in there
It's getting hot in there

Into the broiler they go! Many anxious minutes pass.

The finished product
The finished product

Perfect.