You’ve Breaded an Eggplant for the Last Time

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Image for nonfiction  titled You’ve Breaded an Eggplant for the Last Time

Photo: A.A. Newton

When consumed successful casseroles and sandwiches, “breaded and fried” seems to beryllium the default mentation method for eggplant. As a idiosyncratic of Southern origin, I americium not opposed to a breaded and/or fried thing, but eggplant doesn’t need it. There are 2 different businesslike ways to hole eggplant for layering into casseroles and sandwiches, and neither of them necessitate an ovum dip.

Fry it connected salt

We’ve covered this method before, but it works so good (and I person been utilizing it truthful often), it deserves to beryllium highlighted again. A.A. Newton archetypal learned of the method successful 1 of Kris Yenbamroong’s Instagram stories, and it has to beryllium the slightest fussy eggplant prep method I’ve ever seen:

Instead of salting the eggplant and frying it successful quarts of oil, helium tosses raw, wholly un-prepped slices into a salted pan with nary lipid astatine all. The cooked eggplant slices get layered with copious amounts of olive oil, garlic, chili flakes, and herbs, similar a lasagna.

In summation to the implicit deficiency of salting and draining, this method is besides devoid of cooking oil. Yenbamgroong finishes the salt-fried slices with olive lipid aft they’re cooked, but the ace hot, adust brackish gives the eggplant smoky, evenly charred outsides and silky insides, without immoderate soggy spots. (Salt, arsenic it turns out, gets incredibly blistery successful a pan, truthful immoderate moisture coming retired of the eggplant evaporates quickly.)

You tin furniture these profoundly browned slices successful a casserole crockery with tons of herbs, aromatics, oil, and/or a crumbly funky cheese, oregon you tin instrumentality each that and enactment it connected a rotation (hoagie, hero, sub—whatever the hellhole you telephone it). I person been drizzling slices with garlic honey and eating them arsenic a side, and I find it to beryllium rather pleasing.

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Salt, past cook (in tons of oil)

A fewer weekends ago, I asked A.A. Newton (the undisputed eggplant queen), if she could urge a bully look for eggplant parm. “The Food52 genius look version,” she replied. “Baking the slices alternatively of frying >>>>>.”

The recipe, I americium blessed to report, is not lone genius, but an workout successful elegance and restraint. The condiment is a three-ingredient banger, and the eggplant measurement is startlingly—almost suspiciously—simple. All you person to bash successful presumption of prep is peel the eggplant, portion it into 1/4-inch planks (though I did rounds), brackish the slices, furniture them successful a colander, and measurement them down with a dense sheet oregon beverage kettle filled with water. After fractional an hour, pat the slices adust with insubstantial towels and dredge them successful flour, making definite to pat disconnected the excess.

Next, lipid up a mates of baking sheets (or 1 precise ample one), adding conscionable capable to lightly overgarment the bottom, and spot the dredged eggplant slices connected the baking sheet. Drizzle a small much lipid connected each portion and navigator successful an oven heated to 450℉ until the tops are browned, past flip ‘em implicit to brownish the bottoms. It sounds excessively elemental to beryllium worthy of the sanction eggplant parm, but it works.

I americium not an Italian American, but my fellow is, and helium was skeptical that this would effect successful a bully eggplant parm. “They’re not breaded?” was each helium asked, earlier retreating to the information of the surviving room, but that was enough. Though helium daren’t accidental more—for I had fixed him a look—I knew helium did not person assurance successful this recipe.

He may beryllium Italian-American, but I americium the amended cook, and A.A. Newton knows her eggplant, and I was close to spot her recommendation, and spot the process of this recipe. One wound and the skeptical Italian antheral declared it to beryllium the champion he’d ever had. It was a cleanable mouthful of crisp but custardy eggplant, tangy, garlicky, marinara, and gooey, salty cheese. There was nary soggy breading, nary oddly separated ovum layer, overmuch little lipid to cleanable up, and nary greasy residue successful my hairsbreadth from cookware frying.

This oven fried, crisp but custardy eggplant is unthinkable successful a parm situation, but it could besides beryllium layered with herbs and alliums similar the salt-fried eggplant discussed above, oregon shoved into a simple, non-parm sandwich. I would effort the parm though. The parm is precise good.