The eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables, and luckily there are so many ways to prepare them I never get tired of serving them. These golden brown, crispy eggplant slices have a meaty texture to them allowing them to be served as an entree if desired.
Luckily, eggplants are never really out of season as they grow well anywhere with sufficient sunshine, so be sure to only buy them fresh. Eggplants should be firm to the touch, with tight, shiny skins. Avoid any with obvious blemishes or dimples in their flesh. Use the thumb test if you are unsure as to it’s vintage. Using slight pressure, press your thumb into the fleshy part of the eggplant. If the pressure causes a blemish, pass that eggplant by. Also, choose eggplants that seem heavy for their size, as lightweight eggplants generally reflect pulpy choices, full of seeds.
Eggplants usually range in color from, pale violet to purple, and can even be found in a white variety. It is generally better to buy a smaller eggplant, as it will be less bitter and have fewer seeds. Store them in a cool place and cook preferably within two days after purchase.
Some cooks never feel it necessary to peel the skin of an eggplant before cooking, while others always do. That is simply personal preference, and I sometimes do depending on the recipe, or the size of the eggplant, as generally the larger the eggplant, the tougher the skin. Salting is another matter that has cooks disagreeing, but I generally salt any eggplant that I have not picked fresh myself from my own garden. Salting not only removes the bitter juices, but will help prevent the eggplant from absorbing oil if frying is the preparation method of choice. To “salt” an eggplant, simply sprinkle coarse salt uniformly on slices placed in a colander. Place a weight upon the slices, and let them drain in the sink for at least 30 minutes. Later, just pat dry of any excess salt and use in your recipe.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 3 Medium Large Purple Eggplants
- 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Bread Crumbs
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Sea Salt And Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Lemon Wedges
- Slice the eggplants into round slices, each about 1/2 -inch thick.
- Sprinkle the slices with salt and then place them in a colander.
- Leave the eggplant in the colander to drain for at least 1 hour, giving the salt time to absorb the eggplant's bitterness.
- When eggplant are ready to be used, use a fork to lightly beat the eggs in a shallow bowl.
- Spread the flour onto one shallow pan, and the breadcrumbs in another one.
- Season the eggplant slices to taste with salt and pepper, and then lightly dredge each eggplant slice first lightly in the flour, then the egg, and finally in the breadcrumbs.
- In a heavy frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and when the oil begins to smoke, lay several eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan.
- Fry the slices until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.
- When the first batch is cooked, remove the eggplant from the pan to a serving dish using a slotted spoon.
- Repeat the cooking process, beginning by adding 3 fresh tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, until all of the cutlets are cooked.
- Keep the cooked cutlets warm in a hot oven while you continue to cook all of the eggplant slices.
- Serve warm, with lemon wedges on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 pieces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 652 Total Fat: 41g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 33g Cholesterol: 67mg Sodium: 472mg Carbohydrates: 62g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 11g Protein: 12g