Sometime last week, Hestia posted on FB that she had bought some Eggplants (Aubergine) and was wondering if anyone had any good recipes. She opted for a recipe from one of her friends, and I must say, it looked yummy. She asked for a good way to cook them without frying as they soak up oil like I soak up wine (or beer). When you flour, egg wash and breadcrumb, it significally reduces the oil absorbtion. It also gives the eggplant a more meaty texture ( Did you hear that Sonshine?)
Here we go.
Tomatoes at this time of year are not too flavorfull, but fresh is always better than canned.
Score the top of the tomatoes with a cross at one end and cut out the stem joint with a sharp paring knife.
Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds
Sprinkle with a little ground rock salt and lay them on some kitchen towel and cover. I put another chopping board on top weighed down with something heavy (like the bible). This removes the excess water (lots of it) and reduces the risk of the eggplant going soggy. You can see the water soaking up on the shot with them covered.
Drop the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water until the skins peel back (about 30 seconds)
Remove the tomatoes quickly and plop them in a bowl of cold water. The skins should be easy to remove.
Once the skin has been removed, use your thumbs and fingers to squeeze out the seeds, leaving the flesh ready to chop
Cut the carrots and celery into thin strips, slice the shallots, and dice into small pieces. I use organic produce, so you don't ned to peel the carrots, just rinse.
Flatten the garlic cloves with the side of a large knife, add a little salt to help grind it into a smooth paste.
Use the side of the knife, tip down on the board and held in place with your left hand. Hold the handle in your right hand and work it from side to side until the garlic is of the right consistency (not like this. I had to hold the knife handle in my left hand to take the photo.
Alternatively, you can spoon it out of a jar, or use a garlic crusher. I prefer to do things the hard way.
Here are all of the ingredients for the sauce assembled. I make a Bouquet Garni by tying the rosemary and thyme, wrapped up in a bay leaf so I can remove it later. The basil is shredded fine and added to the sauce.
Saute the vegetables in olive oil until the shallots are translucent, then add the herbs tomatoes and white wine and bring to a simmer. I prefer white wine as
we have a lot of it it doesn't detract from the color of the finished sauce.
Once the vegetables are soft, I blend the sauce (not shown here) with a stick blender and put it back on the stove to stay warm. Season to taste.
Set up three plates, one for seasoned flour, one for egg wash and one for bread crumbs. Transfer the dry eggplant slices to each plate in turn and set aside until all are breaded.
Shallow fry the slices until golden brown on both sides
Remove the slices, shaking off the excesss oil, and place on a platter. Spoon the sauce down the middle of the slices leaving the sides uncovered. and add the cheese.
Pop back in the oven under the broiler/grill untl the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and garnish. I'd have the diners chained to their chairs by this time so they eat it straight from the oven.
In our house, the words "Dinner is ready" usually starts the process of folks going to the bathroom, adjusting make up, finishing toy projects, and generally f***ing about until the food goes cold.
The eggplant should still be intact and recognizable
so when you cut a slice, it doesn't dribble off your fork
So here it is.