Sunday, September 20, 2009
It's Sunday night and I should be posting my weekly meal plan, however I'm exhausted from a weekend of 5th birthday festivities, not to mention I have more leftover food from the party than I know what to do with. This week we'll be eating leftovers and cleaning out the pantry. Tonight I decided to post about this fried eggplant that we had for dinner last week. This meal was my daughter's pick. For weeks she's been talking about eggplant, although I have no idea where she heard about it. We've never eaten eggplant in this house. Well, her curiousity about this vegetable...or should I say nightshade plant...this distant cousin to the the tobbaco plant... was satisfied on Wednesday night. I buy much of my produce from a man down the road from us, who grows it in his garden and orchard. On Wednesday, when we pulled up to his stand, she yelled from the backseat, "Look Mommy! Eggplant! Eggplant!" As I selected tomatoes and peppers for the rotini salad that I was making for the party, she examined the eggplants. I decided to humor her and put one into our basket. "For dinner tonight," she told me when she saw that we were taking one home.
This eggplant was round and smooth and white. Just like, well...an egg.
I have never prepared egg plant before and I've only eaten it in casserole, so I was exploring new territory. I was surprised with what I found when I peeled and sliced our eggplant...lots of tiny little seeds. I decided to go the fried route with this because I thought that my family would be most likely to eat it that way and because frying used the fewest, most simple ingredients of any other eggplant recipe I came across. To prepare for frying, I sliced the peeled eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices.
I beat an egg with about 1/4 cup of milk.
Then I mixed together some Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and salt for breading. My thought was that Eggplant Parmesan is supposed to be good, so eggplant covered in Italian bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese should also be a hit. Dip the slices into the egg mixture then toss in the breadcrumbs and Parmesan to coat.
Place the breaded slices into vegetable oil heated over medium heat. You want to fry them slowly so that the inside gets cooked and the outside gets crispy, but not burned.
When the first side is golden brown, flip and fry the other side until it matches.
Drain on paper towels and salt before serving. Now here's the lowdown: if you like eggplant, you'll probably really love this. For me, it was definitely edible, but not great. The breading was yummy, and when dipped into the yummy marinara that I served alongside, I could understand why, if you even remotely liked eggplant, that this would taste really good. I just don't care for eggplant. Not at all. And I've tried, I really have. It's just not happening for me. And my daughter, the one who insisted on eggplant for dinner? She took two bites and declared in her wannabe grown up tone, "I guess I'm just not a fan of eggplant." Not a fan? She is too funny! So, eggplant lovers try this one out. Please, let me know what you think. They look good, don't they?
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. slices
1/4 cup milk
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
marinara for dipping (optional)
Pour enough oil in skillet to make it 1/4 -1/2 in. deep. Heat oil over medium heat. Mix egg and milk together. Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan, and salt. Dip eggplant slices first in egg, turning to coat. Toss in breadcrumb mixture until coated. Place breaded eggplant slices in the hot oil and fry until golden brown on first side. Turn over and finish frying on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping, if desired.
Stay tuned: While we're eating leftovers this week, I'll be posting all about my daughter's birthday party. The food, the decorations, the recipes...and especially the cake!