Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Breaded Eggplant

A lot has changed in my life where food is concerned since I last wrote.  I have taken the plunge and gone fully vegetarian for ethical reasons.  I have also dramatically reduced the amount of processed cane sugar I eat.  It has not eliminated sweet things from my diet, but it amazes me that cutting out just one type of sugar has so significantly decreased my sugar intake.  I feel great, and that was the point.

I am going try to post here more regularly, so that when people ask me, "But what do you eat?"  I can point them here.  With my new lifestyle choices I am going to be posting recipes that are a little different from what I have posted up to this point.  I'm not going to delete the archive, but if I duplicate a recipe I have posted before I'm not going to worry about it too much as the new one will probably be different from the old.

I have been making breaded eggplant for years, and like most of my recipes, the method and ingredients have changed over time.  My current version is neither vegan, nor gluten free, but can be easily modified to be either or both.

My current method includes salting the eggplant after I cut it, but before I start the breading process. This pulls the liquid out and with it any bitterness the eggplant might have.  When I first stared to make these, I would lay out the eggplant after salting between layers of towel and place books or pans on them to press as much water out as possible.  I have stopped doing that, and now opt to simply press then with my hands to remove a bit more liquid.  This, and dredging them with flour effectively dries them enough to allow the egg and breading to stick and the eggplant to be tender and sweet inside.

Breaded Eggplant
(makes about two half-sheet pans of the cutlets)

3 medium eggplants
kosher salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour (if gluten free, I recommend oat flour)
4 pieces of toast or two cups of bread crumbs (a gluten free bread or crumb will work here)
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp salt, if your sunflower seeds are salted, you will need less salt.
1/2 tsp pepper
3 or 4 eggs (if vegan replace with Ener-G egg replacer or one of your choice)
olive oil

Cut the eggplants into round slices between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in thickness.  I leave the skins on, but if you want less fiber, skin the eggplant before cutting.  Toss the slices in a generous amount of kosher salt and leave them in a strainer over a bowl for about 30 minutes.  During this time, you can prepare the bread crumb mixture.

Rip your toast into chunks before putting it into the food processor with the oats.  Blend them until they are sandy with slightly larger chunks.  Add the sunflower seeds, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  Blend until the sunflower seeds have all been cut at least once, but not so far that the mixture looks homogeneous.  Leave some sunflower seed chunks.

Oil your sheet pans and preheat the oven to 375° F. Once the half hour has passed, lay the slices out on a kitchen towel.  Cover with another kitchen towel and press with your hands to force some more liquid out of the eggplant.

The dredging can be done in a big bowl, or the way I do it, in a gallon plastic bag.  Add the flour to your bag, and generously salt and pepper it.  Put about 8 slices of eggplant into the bag and gather the top.  Shake the bag to coat the eggplant, then repeat the process to dredge all the pieces.

Put some of the bread crumb mixture onto a large plate.  Crack two eggs to start into a shallow bowl and whip them up.  You will add more egg as you run out. Dip each piece of dredged eggplant into the bowl to coat them, flipping to coat the top and bottom.  You do not need to worry about coating the edges.  Next, dip the slices in the bread crumb mixture, making sure that crumbs stick to both sides.  Lay the slices on the pan and once they are all laid out, drizzle the top with some more olive oil.

Bake about 30 minutes before flipping and 25 minutes on the second side.  How long you leave them in the oven will depend on how crisp you like the breading to be.

The photo I am sharing today is these babies served with pasta, tomato sauce, and Kite Hill Almond Ricotta.  It was fantastically delicious, but far from the only way I eat them.  I like to make a big batch of these on the weekend and eat them during the week while it is hard to fit in cooking with work.  I love them on a bagel as a sandwich, or just eating them as a snack.  I have also cut them up and thrown them on top of a salad.

What's your favorite way to eat eggplant?


  1. Thank you for the recipe. My favorite thing to do with eggplants is to roast them on the grill and make into Baba Ghoush. Especially while it's still warm from the grill.

  2. We love how you make suggestions on how to adapt for different dietary needs. And we're going to use your idea of making these on the weekend and then snacking during the work week when we're often too busy to cook!

  3. Laurie, that Baba Ghoush sounds delicious.