Melanzane alla Parmigiana, or Aubergine Parmesan.

Parmigiana (a short form of Parmigiana di melanzane) is a Southern Italian dish made with a shallow-fried sliced filling, layered with cheese and tomato sauce, then baked. Parmigiana made with a filling of aubergine (eggplant) is the earliest version. Variations made with breaded meat cutlets, such as veal and chicken parmigiana, have been popularized in other countries, usually in areas of Italian immigration.



The dish is claimed by both Campania and Sicily. While "parmigiana" usually means "from Parma" (in Northern Italy), the dish is not part of the cuisine of Parma. It is a Southern Italian dish.

In addition to the original Italian recipe, many variations are found world-wide, most often in countries where large numbers of Italians immigrated. Unlike the Italian parmigiana, these often include meat: veal parmigiana[1] and chicken parmigiana, made of breaded and fried slices of meat topped with a marinara sauce and mozzarella. They are then usually baked until the cheese is bubbly and brown.

Parmigiana is also used in the names of unrelated dishes which do form part of the cuisine of Parma cuisine, such as trippa alla parmigiana (Parma-style tripe).


The dish consists of a sliced filling pan fried in oil, layered with tomato sauce and cheese, and baked in an oven. In some versions, the sliced filling is first dipped in beaten eggs and dredged in flour or breadcrumbs before frying. Some recipes use hard grated cheeses such as Parmesan, while others use softer melting cheeses like Mozzarella, or a combination of these.

International variations

Freshly cooked Chicken Parmesan.

In the United States and Canada, veal parmigiana or chicken parmigiana is commonly served as a submarine sandwich. It is also popular with a side of or on top of pasta.

Chicken or veal parmigiana is a staple of Australian pub cuisine and casual dining, often served with a side of chips and salad. It may contain a variety of toppings, including sliced ham or fried aubergine slices. This dish is often referred to as a parma or very rarely a parmi or occasionally on menus as the "Queen of Schnitzels".

A similar dish, the Parmo, which uses either pork or chicken, has developed in England.

The Brazilian variation is usually beef, and may often contain vegetables (such as peas) in the topping.


There are several conflicting theories for the origin of the name parmigiana.

One common theory attributes the name to the use of Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese).[2] For this reason the dish is sometimes called "melanzane alla parmigiana", though "parmigiana di melanzane" is considered more correct.

Another theory attributes the name to an alteration of the Sicilian word parmiciana:

With its liberal use of aubergines and tomatoes, this is most likely an ancient Sicilian dish which, in many cookbooks is erroneously described as deriving its name from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, one of the ingredients. However "parmigiana" is the Italianization of the Sicilian dialectal word "parmiciana", which refers to the slats of wood which compose the central part of a shutter and overlap in the same manner as the slices of aubergine in the dish."[3]

A variant of this theory traces the name to Sicilian "palmigiana", also meaning "shutter", from the way in which the slices are laid.[4]

As with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the word Parmigiana is often rendered, as "Parmesan" in English-speaking countries, from the French word for "from Parma."


  1. ^
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  3. ^ translated from Anna Pomar, La Cucina tradizionale siciliana
  4. ^ Mary Taylor-Simeti, Sicilian Food.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Parmigiana — di melanzane Als Parmigiana (auch … alla parmigiana ‚auf Parma Art‘) wird eine typische Zubereitungsart ursprünglich der neapolitanischen und sizilianischen Küche bezeichnet, die besonders in Süditalien weit verbreitet ist. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • parmigiana — [pär΄mə jä′nō, pär΄mezhä′nōpär΄mə zhä′nə, par′mə zhän΄] adj. [It Parmigiana, fem. of parmigiano,PARMESAN] prepared with Parmesan cheese: also parmigiano [pär΄mə jä′nō, pär΄mezhä′nō] …   English World dictionary

  • Parmigiana — La Parmigiana ou Parmigiana di melanzane est un plat du sud de l Italie. Bien que recouvrant une multitude de recettes, on peut résumer l essence du plat à un gratin d aubergines au parmesan. Cuisiner les légumes alla parmigiana désigne à l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • parmigiana — or parmigiano adjective Etymology: Italian parmigiana, feminine of parmigiano of Parma, from Parma Date: 1892 made or covered with Parmesan cheese < veal parmigiana > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • parmigiana — /pahr meuh zhah neuh, zhahn /; It. /pahrdd mee jah nah/, adj. Italian Cookery. cooked with Parmesan cheese: veal parmigiana; eggplant parmigiana. Also, parmigiano /pahr meuh zhah noh/; It. /pahrdd mee jah naw/. [1940 45; < It, fem. of parmigiano… …   Universalium

  • parmigiana — par·mi·già·na s.f. 1. → parmigiano 2. CO preparazione gastronomica di melanzane o zucchine alla parmigiana: parmigiana di melanzane …   Dizionario italiano

  • parmigiana — {{hw}}{{parmigiana}}{{/hw}}s. f. Vivanda preparata alla parmigiana: una parmigiana di zucchine …   Enciclopedia di italiano

  • parmigiana — par•mi•gia•na [[t]ˌpɑr məˈʒɑ nə, ˈʒɑn, ˈdʒɑ nə, ˈdʒɑn[/t]] also par•mi•gia•no [[t] ˈʒɑ noʊ, ˈdʒɑ [/t]] adj. coo cooked with Parmesan cheese: veal parmigiana[/ex] • Etymology: 1940–45; < It, fem. of parmigiano Parmesan …   From formal English to slang

  • parmigiana — /paməˈdʒanə/ (say pahmuh jahnuh) adjective (placed after the noun) (of a food dish) prepared with parmesan cheese, usually with a tomato sauce topped with grated parmesan cheese, then cooked so as the cheese melts: eggplant parmigiana. {Italian} …   Australian English dictionary

  • parmigiana — adjective cooked or served with Parmesan cheese …   Wiktionary

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