The latest installment of Phish’s weekly archival livestream video series Dinner And A Movie features the July 9, 2019 show at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. This show, which marks the series fifth episode, was originally simulcast on SiriusXM and contains a litany of highlights including a surprising show-opening bustout of The Apples in Stereo “Energy” – Phish’s first performance in nearly six years – as well as a rare triple encore consisting of classics “Foam” & “Contact” before the evening was capped with an upbeat take on the Big Boat track “More.”
As with previous iterations of Dinner And A Movie, this week’s selection features an organization – Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund – that will receive proceeds from the band’s charitable wing The WaterWheel Foundation as well as a band member-chosen recipe – Trey’s Eggplant Parmigiana – both of which can be seen below.
We have selected Sweet Relief as our beneficiary for this webcast. All donations made via The WaterWheel Foundation that day will be given to them. Donate any time at phish.com/waterwheel. Since 1994, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund has been providing financial assistance to career musicians and music industry workers struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Funds raised will be used to pay for medical expenses, lodging, clothing, food and other vital living expenses to those impacted due to sickness or loss of work. For more info, visit https://www.sweetrelief.org
Grandmoony’s Eggplant Parmigiana
Carmel Anastasio, aka Grandmoony, my Italian grandmother, was an incredible cook. Growing up, we would have long, never-ending meals where she would make antipasto, pasta, eggplant, braciola, three different pies — all just for the family.
My absolute favorite was her Eggplant Parmigiana, and she taught me how to make it. I’m a horrible cook, but I do know how to make the Eggplant Parmigiana, and it’s really fun to make. I’ve actually made it for the band before.
My stepmother Geneva is also an astounding cook (so good!) and she learned lots of tricks from my grandmother before she died. Geneva makes huge, amazing dinners for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special occasions. In Phish’s early years, we would stop at my dad’s house sometimes on the way home from a long road trip, and Geneva would feed us all. We called her “The Helping Friendly Cook”! Straight from Italy and passed down thru the generations, I always think of my Grandmoony when I eat this dish. I loved her so much, and still do! I asked Geneva to explain how to cook it because hers is the very best. Thank you, Geneva!
This recipe came to me from my mother-in-law, Carmel Dorothy Musco Anastasio. She had learned to make it from her mother, Diodata Popolizio Musco and instructed me first off that this is Eggplant Parmigiana, not Eggplant Mozzarella. If you want to make this recipe, you will not need mozzarella.
It takes a while to simmer. Enjoy the way your house smells.
Extra Virgin olive oil
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 bunch fresh basil (torn not chopped…you don’t want to bruise it)
Using your hands, crush a can of San Marzano tomatoes in a bowl. In a sauce pan, sauté a generous amount of chopped garlic in oil until soft, not brown. Add the San Marzano tomatoes. Add a can of tomato sauce. Simmer on low heat until thick. Add fresh basil, torn into small pieces. Correct seasoning to taste. Add one sugar cube (or more if you find the sauce too acidic after tasting).
Glass baking dish
1 medium sized eggplant, firm and shiny. Peeled and thinly sliced
2 large eggs well beaten
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce (approximately three cups).
Mix a ½ tsp. of salt and ½ tsp. of pepper with 1 cup of flour in a bowl wide enough to accommodate the slices. Depending on the amount of eggplant you are using you may need more flour. Set aside.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat until shimmering but not smoking. Your goal is to lightly brown the slices quickly in the hot oil.
This is the messy part:
Dip the slices in the eggs (shake them a little to get the excess off) and dredge in the flour. Working in small batches place them in the hot oil, turn when lightly browned and brown the other side. Set aside on a plate. (I put paper towels between the layers to absorb any excess oil. She did not.)
At this point you can set aside the amount you want for your dish and separate slices to freeze for another Eggplant Parmigiana at a later date.
Lightly cover the bottom of your dish with sauce. Place a layer of eggplant, a layer of sauce, and then a layer of Parmesan. Repeat until all the eggplant is used.
Finish with a generous layer of Parmesan.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until it bubbles.