February 12, 2011

Crispy Almond Crusted Eggplant

If you learn nothing else from me, please take away this little bit of knowledge: salt your eggplant. Trust me, it makes all eggplant dishes much more palatable. It takes away the bitter bite often associated with the berry (yes, eggplant is a berry!) and makes it tender and lovely. Just sprinkle each slice of eggplant with salt on both sides and allow to sit for about 15 minutes, pat with a paper towel to remove excess liquid and salt, and you have some mighty tender eggplant.

It works wonders. It made this dish so tender that the only utensil I needed was a fork. Well, that is until I decided to stop being dainty and just inhaled the last few pieces using my hands. One of the joys of living alone, people.

Crispy almond crusted eggplant

- 1 medium eggplant
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 flax egg (1T flaxmeal, 3T water)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced, or garlic powder
- 1/2t each dried basil and oregano
- S&P, to taste

- Preheat oven to 375.
- Slice eggplant in 1/2" rounds and salt using the above directions.
- Combine panko, almond meal and seasonings on a large plate. Dip each slice of eggplant first in the flax egg and then into the panko mixture, coating each side liberally. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.

Serves 4

You could top this with marinara and Daiya (or mozzarella) for a fun twist on eggplant parmesan, balsamic reduction, or, as I did, with homemade vegan gravy.

I used Emily's recipe and it came out perfectly. I'm normally not a gravy fan, but I thought this went beautifully with the eggplant, which was silky on the inside and had the right amount of crunch on the outside. It was almost like a vegan remix on chicken fried steak, but with some fiber and healthy fats.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to work on a writing project and then rest up for some (undoubtedly embarrassing) booty shaking tonight. Happy weekend!

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