We keep getting such wonderful fresh veggies from our CSA at Almost Urban Farms and this is keeping me busy with cooking ideas. As the summer flys by, we get more and more yummy items in our baskets. This week we got this absolutely gorgeous (and gigantic) eggplant. We got an eggplant last week and I tried grilling it up along with the summer squash and let me tell you, it did not turn out as planned. Grilled zucchini and summer squash are always delish, but the eggplant turned out tough, chewy, and gross...ew...almost made me not want to eggplant ever again.
This week I knew it would wind up breaded, fried, and loving placed between 2 pieces of bread....and you know what? That is exactly what happened!
You will need:
1 cup flour
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
1 clove garlic
fresh herbs (today I used rosemary, sage, oregano)
canola oil (enough to shallow fry)
provolone cheese, sliced (or any other good melting cheese)
marinara sauce (or your favourite tomato sauce)
Bread. Choose a good sturdy bread. I found a gorgeous loaf of Italian bread but the sour dough looked good too.
Wash and slice the eggplant into thick slices, sprinkle with salt and lay in a colander to drain.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place a rack on the sheet. Place this contraption in the oven and set the oven for 225 or 250 F, This will keep the cooked eggplant warm and crispy while waiting for the others to cook.
Pre heat a large fry pan and add a good amount of canola oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add a clove of garlic and a couple sprigs of rosemary, sage, and oregano. (Remove the herbs from the oil as they get crispy so they don't burn. I kept adding more herbs as I went and this really added a nice flavour to the the finished eggplant)
This is also a good time to heat up your marinara sauce in a small pot on the stove.
While the pan is heating up, you can set up a breading station: Place 1 cup of flour on a plate and mix in a good pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. In a bowl, break and scramble up the 3 eggs. Finally, in a large bowl mix together the panko, Parmesan, garlic powder and another healthy grinding of pepper.
- baking sheet contraption in the warm oven
- marinara sauce warming up
- oil heating up
- eggplant sliced, salted, and draining
- breading station ready to go
Pat the eggplant slices dry with a paper towel (or clean tea towel).
Coat each slice in flour and shake the excess flour and plunk it into the egg wash, make sure it is thoroughly coated and allow the excess to drip off.
Coat the egg coated slice into the panko mixture. You may need to lightly press on the crumbs to help them stick. (Don't forget the edges!)
Carefully place a slice of eggplant in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Gently flip the slice over and continue to fry. When the slices are all golden brown and yummy, transfer to the baking sheet/rack contraption you have in the oven to keep warm. (I have found that without the rack, the underside of the eggplant will get damp and uncrsipy...so don't skip the rack)
Once you have everything all fried and golden, get the bread sliced, the cheese ready and start assembling your sammie!
|Check out the rack on a foil lined baking sheet....|
If you don't want to fry the eggplant, you can spray it with oil or nonstick spray and bake it in the oven. You won't get the same crispness, but it will bake up nicely.
Until next time, stay warm and eat well.