Thursday, July 12, 2012

Eggplant and Goat Cheese Napoleon either love it or you hate it. I was always a firm hater of the purple buggers, but pregnancy changes a woman.  There is a myth about town that a place called Scalini's has an Eggplant Parmesan that will induce labor.  The place is a little creepy. They have pictures of mothers and their babies all over the walls. Well, it was the middle of August in Atlanta and I was due in a week.  I was hot and tired and willing to try anything.  So I put my fear of le petite aubergine aside and I really enjoyed it. 
It didn't, however, induce anything but a hunger for more.  
The next encounter I had with the vegetable was a beautifully breaded and fried eggplant layered with in season tomatoes, fresh goats cheese, and fresh basil leaves. It was perfection. Light enough for a diet lunch (I did just have a baby remember), but decedent enough with the fried eggplant to not feel like a compromise.  This is my attempt to recreate the loveliness
In my last post I made a beautiful Veggie Rainbow Wheel and I had a bunch of leftover squash and zucchini so I experimented with a few fry methods.  Flour alone wasn't crunchy enough with the wet veg, cornmeal and flour alone was close, but the winner was egg, then the flour and cornmeal mixture, then into the oil. You can experiment with any seasonings you like in the cornmeal mixture.  I used Lawry's Season Salt as the seasoning for the squash. Be careful with the salt in that. Lucky for me, I did all that legwork last time, because now I know the perfect way to fry up these eggplants baby!

Serves 4-6 depending on how many eggplant you screw up frying.
Ingredients List

1 eggplant
1 egg
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper
5 plum tomatoes
basil leaves
1/4 cup balsamic
2 tbsp capers
7 ounces goat cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup oil for frying split in half

Chop your tomatoes and throw them in a bowl with 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp of capers, and as much chopped basil as you like. Let sit while you work on the eggplant.

Heat 1/2 of your oil in a skillet over medium heat
Wash and slice 1 purple eggplant

Sprinkle lightly with salt

On a plate combine 1/3 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil,
and 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. In another plate scramble 1 egg.

Dredge the eggplant slices first in the egg and then in the cornmeal mixture. 
Fry until golden. Replace your oil with the reserved oil halfway through so your eggplant doesn't taste bitter from the burned cornmeal. 
I turned my toaster oven on the warm setting to keep my finished eggplant crispy while I worked on the others.

To assemble, place a pool of heated marinara sauce on each plate
 Top with one slice of  eggplant
 Cover with three slices of goat cheese or enough to cover the eggplant with 1/4 inch of goat cheese
Sandwich with another eggplant 
Top with your marinated tomatoes 
Garnish with fresh basil leaves


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