Eggplant Caprese Salad

Serves 2 as a main dish – 4 as a starter

1 Medium Sized Eggplant, peeled and sliced into about 12 – ¼” Thick Rounds
3 Eggs Beaten
1 Cup AP Flour + ¼ Tsp Salt + A Couple Turns of Black Pepper
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs + ¼ Tsp Salt + A Couple Turns of Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
3 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Dried Parsley
3 tsp Dried Basil
Salt For Finsihing
3-4 Tomatoes, Sliced into 12 – ¼” Round Slices
3 – 4 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced into 12 – ¼” Round Slices
Fresh Basil
Aged Balsamic or Balsamic Glaze
1 Cup Vegetable Oil For Frying

Peel Eggplant with a vegetable peeler and slice into rounds.

Set up breading station – You will need three shallow dishes that you can dip in

Station 1: Into your dish combine AP Flour, Salt and Black Pepper

Station 2:  3 Beaten Eggs

Station 3:  Bread Crumbs, Salt, Pepper, Parmesan, Garlic Powder, Dried Parsley, Dried Basil

Begin dipping your rounds.  First in the flour, knocking off any excess.  Second in the eggwash.  Allowing the excess to drip back into the dish.  Third in the crumb mixture.  I achieve the best results here by resting the rounds in the crumbs and then sprinkle a handful on top of them.  Then I press the crumbs onto the eggplant with the palm of my hand.  This makes the crumbs adhere better.

Fill a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven with about 1” of Vegetable Oil and heat it for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium high heat.  Now begin to fry the eggplant.

Taking care to not crowd the pan, fry the eggplant for about 3 minutes per side, flipping the eggplant occasionally so that they have a nice even light brown color on both sides.  Keep on eye on the cooking oil if the patties are looking too dark too quickly adjust the temperature down a bit.  When the eggplant are fried to perfection, drain them on paper towel lined plate and sprinkle each round with a bit of salt.  At this point they are ready to be served, if you are frying in batches you will want to place the finished eggplant rounds on a baking sheet so that you can keep them warm in a 250˚F oven until all of the eggplant is done.

While you are frying the eggplant prepare the other components of your salad.  Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, wash and dry the basil.  When all of the eggplant has been fried begin assembly of the dish.

Lay 1 Eggplant Round on a plate followed by 1 Slice of Tomato, 1 Fresh Basil Leaf, 1 Slice of Mozzarella and 1 More Fresh Basil Leaf.  Repeat this as many times as you like if you are making a large platter to be shared.  Otherwise make individual servings following the above assembly format.  Give everything one last gentle sprinkle with salt and then drizzle aged balsamic or balsamic glaze over the whole dish.  If you wish wish to finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as well that would be delicious!

*Notes:  you can prepare you coated eggplant patties a day in advance, but don’t fry them until just before you are ready to eat.

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Eggplant Caprese Salad