Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Close to perfect, but not

Eggplant with Crispy Coating
America’s Quick Cuisine Copyright 2004

1 large eggplant
2 eggs
½ cup fine dry bread crumbs or yellow cornmeal I used seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon oregano I skipped this since I used seasoned breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil or salad oil

1. Peel eggplant, if desired; then cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices. Set aside. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs. In another shallow bowl, mix crumbs, oregano and cheese.
2. Pour oil into a rimmed baking pan large enough to hold eggplant in a single layer; tilt pan to coat with oil. Dip each eggplant slice in eggs, drain briefly, and then coat with crumb mixture; shake off excess. Arrange eggplant slices in pan and bake in a 425 degree oven, turning once, until browned and very soft when pressed (20 to 25 minutes).

Makes 4 to 6 servings

The coating on this eggplant was really crispy, just like deep fried if you ask me. The eggplant underneath the crispy coating was perfectly creamy. So this should be declared a winner, no? No. This was bland. Claire at Cooking With Medicine did a comparison of the deep colored eggplant versus the light purple variety, which I used here, and she declared the light purple one to lack flavor. I think I agree, although while eating it, I mainly thought my eggplant needed salt. The cheese added some salt to the coating but the eggplant was really flat. But I worry adding salt at any point before the finish might cause the eggplant to give up water and hinder the crisping of the coating. I did sprinkle some salt on the finished product but that didn't do the trick.

All in all, this was quite heartbreaking since this was so close to being perfect. I'm going to use this technique again, maybe with a deep-colored eggplant, maybe with zucchini. It was nice to get that deep-fried flavor without all that oil or odor.

I ordered three new cookbooks yesterday. I tried to stop myself. I SERIOUSLY tried to stop myself from hitting that submit button. But I'm so weak.

Question of the Day: Can you think of any other veggies I could use in this recipe?


Unknown said...

Thanks for the mention in your blog. That looks really good. You could use squash, zucchini, okra, mushrooms. Although, the mushrooms and okra might be a little difficult to do, but they sure would taste good! Another good variety of eggplant to use for this recipe might be the Japanese eggplant. This is the kind that my grandfather always fried; it was always delicious.

DancesInGarden said...

Other than zucchini? Maybe onion rings? Although it might be hard to get the coating to stick.

Looks great though!

Heather said...

these do look really good. I have never bought and eggplant before, but now I may have to after reading yours and Claire's insights.

ThursdayNext said...

i make any eggplant dish that has a coating by:

placing the eggplant on paper towel on a tray first and SALTING them. this gets the extra water out and gives them a good flavor in the end. try it again doing this! it will be good, i promise! :)

Randi said...

I was going to suggest salting them first( but someone beat me to it). Thats what my mom always did.

You could make zucchini this way too. I do it all the time and its very popular.

Anonymous said...

That looks fabulous! But I think the missing oregano might be your problem. Dry bread crumbs don't have much herb added and it has been so dried it is tastless - at least in my opinion.

aims said...

This looks like something I'd like to try. My dad has some of the deep purple eggplants in his garden.

"Question of the Day -- Can you think of any other veggies I could use in this recipe?" -- I would try green tomatoes, if you like fried green tomatoes."

ps~ I just stumbled upon your blog today. You've put a lot of work into this. Thanks for doing so. I'm saving you in my faves folder.

Miasys said...

I do something similar with zucchini. I slice them about 1/4 an inch thick. I don't dip them in eggs, I just dip the slices in water, roll them in 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (seasoned with whatever spices you like- I use a blend of salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil, rosemary & thyme) mixed with a scant 1/4 cup grated parmesan/romano/or cheese of your choice and then bake on a rack sprayed with nonstick baking spray, placed over a baking sheet, in a 425 oven for 30-35 minutes, til just golden. Yummy, and not fatty or greasy. The worst part is waiting for them to bake.

Annie said...

I usually salt mine first too. But then I rinse them, since the salting is supposed to draw out the bitterness. I lightly flour mine before dipping into the egg. It's supposed to help the egg adhere better, but it did'nt seem to bother yours not doing so.
Once mine are finished baking, I layer them in a baking pan with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. I top it with mozzarella and put it back in the oven and call it Twice Baked Eggplant Parmigiana.

Definately zucchini. It works well.And I've been thinking about trying this technique with artichokes too. Maybe you'll beat me to it!

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Since most of you agree the eggplant needs to be salted, I'll definitely try that next time. I just worry that they won't be as crispy but we shall see.

I LOVE the idea of using the cornmeal and making 'fried' green tomatoes. I just don't know where to get a green tomato.

SJerZGirl said...

These look like they'd make a great base for eggplant parmesan, layered just like lasagna or on the plate topped with cheese and sauce. And, I agree - bleed them first. Mom used to cut her eggplant up into strips (like steak fries) and bread and fry it. We still eat fried eggplant and zucchini, mainly with catsup. (It's funny that Mom will eat catsup on fried squash, but can't imagine it on French Fries.)