fried eggplantEggplant, also known as aubergine, has not always been popular and yet there are oodles of eggplant recipes out there making this nightshade plant shine.  I’m sure if you ask your friends if they like it, you’ll receive mixed reviews.  It must be a North American thing ’cause everywhere else this humble plant is consumed weekly.  Eggplant had been in Asia for centuries before being introduced to the Mediterranean by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. 

My Irish/Germanic roots never saw a dish with eggplant until I was a pre-teenager (early ’70s).   My parents came back from an overseas trip where one of the countries included Italy.  Mom was inspired by the Italian food she ate.  At that time it would have been difficult to find real Parmigiano Reggiano and eggplant would have been scarce, too.  Back then our city had tiny pockets of ethnic groups but not enough to influence the buying habits of local grocers.  Parmesan cheese, back in the day, came in a container of processed moisture-removed grated cheese.  It was the coolest thing since sliced bread and could feed our family of 6 without breaking the bank!  My siblings and I devoured it.  Oh my, how our taste buds have evolved.

Serves 4 as a side
1 dark purple eggplant, washed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
canola or grapeseed oil for frying
400g can Italian tomatoes (made in Italy)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon dried oregano
fresh basil leaves
shaved Parmesan

Place eggplant rounds in a colander and sprinkle salt over. Let sit 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Meanwhile, make tomato sauce by adding olive oil to a saucepan. Over medium heat add garlic and chili pepper flakes; cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding tomatoes. Stir, then reduce heat to low to allow the tomatoes to simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool a bit, then run through a food mill or use an immersion blender.  Don’t purée the tomatoes.  Allow the sauce to have small chunks of tomato.

tomato saucePrepare a dipping station by placing 3 bowls in a row: one for the flour, one for bread crumbs and the other for the eggs. Dredge each eggplant slice into the flour making sure to coat both sides then gently tap to remove any excess flour. Next, dip eggplant into beaten egg and make sure egg coats all of the eggplant and tap to remove excess egg wash. Finally, coat with bread crumbs. Place on a large platter or cutting board. Repeat the process.

In a deep skillet or wok, heat canola oil to 375f. To check if oil is hot enough, toss in a bread crumb.  If it sizzles, the oil is ready.  Add eggplant in batches and cook one minute per side or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.

breaded eggplantTo serve, add a generous spoonful of tomato sauce on the plate followed by eggplant slices, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.  Buon appetito!

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Choose eggplants with a taut, slightly resistant skin. To keep the eggplant slices warm while the others are being fried, place on a baking tray lined with paper towel and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 dark purple eggplant, washed and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • canola or grapeseed oil for frying
  • 400g can Italian tomatoes (made in Italy)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch of chili pepper flakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs mixed with 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • fresh basil leaves
  • shaved Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Place eggplant rounds in a colander and sprinkle salt over. Let sit 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Meanwhile, make tomato sauce by adding olive oil to a saucepan. Over medium heat add garlic and chili pepper flakes; cook for 1 to 2 minutes before adding tomatoes. Stir, then reduce heat to low to allow the tomatoes to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cool a bit, then run through a food mill or use an immersion blender. Don’t purée the tomatoes. Allow the sauce to have small chunks of tomato.
  2. Prepare a dipping station by placing 3 bowls in a row: one for the flour, one for bread crumbs and the other for the eggs. Dredge each eggplant slice into the flour making sure to coat both sides then gently tap to remove any excess flour. Next, dip eggplant into beaten egg and make sure egg coats all of the eggplant and tap to remove excess egg wash. Finally, coat with bread crumbs. Place on a large platter or cutting board. Repeat the process.
  3. In a deep skillet or wok, heat canola oil to 375f. To check if oil is hot enough, toss in a bread crumb. If it sizzles, the oil is ready. Add eggplant in batches and cook one minute per side or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain.
  4. To serve, add a generous spoonful of tomato sauce on the plate followed by eggplant slices, basil leaves, shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Buon appetito!
Notes
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Choose eggplants with a taut, slightly resistant skin. To keep the eggplant slices warm while the others are being fried, place on a baking tray lined with paper towel and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. Enjoy!

 

1 Comment

  1. Minnie@thelady8home on April 26, 2015 at 22:55

    That sounds a great recipe of eggplant! Loved it. Looking so yummy.