Weekday Vegetarian: Breaded Eggplant with Tomato Salsa


Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I love to cook, but really what I love is cooking for people. It's a wonderful feeling to sit down with my family and eat a meal I thought about and have prepared for them. It's even nicer when you use ingredients that you've grown yourself. Now, I can't take all the credit for the eggplant and the cherry tomatoes that went into this recipe, because my daughter has had the yeoman's duty taking care of the garden while I flitted around the French Alps in July and while I've been at the cottage for August, but still, we chose them and planted them together.This turned out to be absolutely delicious. The eggplant was crunchy on the outside with a creamy interior. The tomato salsa was the perfect foil for the richness of the eggplant. Anyone who has ever fried eggplant knows that it acts as a sponge for the oil, especially if the oil isn't quite hot enough. The bread coating provides just enough barrier between the oil and the eggplant to keep them from soaking up too much oil and making them greasy.

Breaded Eggplant with Tomato Salsa
For Eggplant

1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/4" thick discs.
salt
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 egg, lightly beaten
Oil for frying

For Salsa

10 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 slices of red onion, diced, or 1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Place eggplant slices on a plate and lightly salt them. Set aside for 15 minutes and allow them to sweat. Wipe away excess moisture with a paper towel.

2. On a small plate, mix breadcrumbs, cheese, thyme and oregano. Dip a slice of eggplant into the egg, covering the whole thing. Then coat both sides of the slice with the breadcrumb mixture. Repeat until all of the eggplant slices are coated.

3. Pour just enough oil in the pan to cover the bottom. Heat until the oil is very hot, testing with a small slice of coated eggplant. It should start to sizzle right away. Add as many of the eggplant slices as will fit in the pan. Keep the pan on a medium-high heat, taking care that the eggplant doesn't burn. When the eggplant slices have developed a golden crust, about 5 minutes, then turn them over and cook on the second side until golden.

4. Meanwhile, mix the salsa ingredients together and taste for seasoning. When the eggplant is finished, drain on paper towels. Place eggplant slices on plates and spoon salsa over top. Serve immediately.

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Tags: Recipes | Tomatoes | Weekday Vegetarian

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