eggplant sammies

May 30, 2012 § 2 Comments


this is another one of those recipes that i found on pinterest, where all of the things-i’m-going-to-make-someday live in a folder called “grub.”  it’s actually quite nice to have as a resource, though a bit overwhelming once you realize that if things continue at their current rate, i will have far more pinned recipes than i will days left on this earth to make them.  especially if the mayans have anything to say about it. anyway, the original recipe (via pinterest) can be found here: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/eggplant-sandwiches-00000000036009/index.html

so, in the event you haven’t noticed, these sandwiches are dredged and fried.  which, as we all know, means that they are automatically delicious.

as an aside, for those of you following along at home, the eggplant prep roughly follows the instructions for dredging posted earlier for eggplant parm (https://wecookanddrinktogether.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/eggplant-parm/), but omits the milk. candidly, i didn’t miss it.

the one thing i DID miss, was the original recipe’s decision to skip the salting-the-eggplant step.  salting eggplant is very straightforward: after you’ve cut your eggplant into slices of the desired shape and size, you sprinkle each of the slices (both sides) with salt (preferably kosher) and let it sit out on the counter, set atop a kitchen towel or paper towels for 20-30 minutes.  after letting it rest, you brush the remaining salt off of the eggplant (the larger crystals of the kosher salt are an added benefit here because they’re much, much easier to brush off than the tiny table-salt granules).  and now for the why of salting: salting serves to draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant which, in turn, reduces the number and size of the air pockets, which prevents the eggplant from later becoming a sponge for the oil and leaving you with a soggy eggplant mess.  some people also feel strongly that it kills the more bitter natural eggplant taste, but it’s less of a concern here where the primary taste is going to be fried.  mmm. fried.  anyway, generally it’s fine to skip the salting step when you’re dealing with smaller eggplants (e.g., japanese), for this recipe you’re going to be looking for something larger to permit you to stack it high with fillings.  in sum, i would salt. unless you’re lazy.  then i encourage you to embrace your laziness/live in your awesome and pretend that you don’t notice the slight sogginess of your eggplant or better still, learn to love the soggy.  i don’t judge. much.

anyway.

the stuff:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs (panko, italian, or whatever else you happen to have on hand)
1 medium eggplant (1 to 1 1/2 pounds), cut into eight 1/2-inch-thick rounds, salted.
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
more kosher salt
4 leaves lettuce (the original recipe insists on romaine.  i’m pretty sure i used baby spinach because that’s what i had)
2 medium beefsteak or other tomatoes (about 1 pound), sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
avocado, pitted and sliced.

the how-to:

1. salt your eggplant.

2.  while the eggplant is salting, put the flour, eggs and bread crumbs in their own individual bowls.  after you’ve brushed any excess salt from the eggplant, dip the  slices in the following order (making sure that both sides of the slices are coated in each of the following): flour, eggs, bread crumbs.  note: it’s important to make sure that the egg gets everywhere, on both sides, since it’s acting as your “glue” for the bread crumbs.  you will also want to press the bread crumbs gently into the eggplant to help them stick.

3.  heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat.  cook the eggplant until golden and crisp (original recipe says 2-3 minutes per side, i feel like it was closer to 4-5, but everyone’s stove top is different).  transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and let cool (hot oil, people).  sprinkle the cooling eggplant with a little bit of salt to taste.

4. assemble the sandwiches, layering a slice of eggplant, lettuce/greens, tomatoes, basil, goat cheese and avocado and another slice of eggplant to make your sandwich.

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