Monday, October 4, 2010
Does this look "vegan" to you?! Yeah, I didn't think so!
I have a confession…I have a warped obsession with nightshade plants…tomatoes, peppers, eggplants…I see them and immediately salivate and start imagining all the super yummy things I can do with them. Well, a woman I work with has the opposite…although she loves them, her son has a severe allergy to them. So, when her CSA share was overflowing with nightshades this past week, it was converted to a free-for-all at work, and I was able to sneak out with a couple eggplants, some green heirloom tomatoes, and a handful of jalapenos. Score, right?! Well, the eggplants were very ripe, so I knew I had to use those right away, so what better way than in a yummy, calorie-filled eggplant “parm”!!
I like to keep my recipes on the lower-calorie spectrum of things, but sometimes, you just gotta let loose a bit! So, I busted out my wanna-be Italian accent, and got to work. Now, you can fry your eggplant up any way that suits you, but I prefer a Milanesa-style frying, which is a traditional Central/South American way of bread-frying things…which is actually healthier (not much) than deep frying. But, whatever floats your boat on this one. I also like to make my own breadcrumbs, as opposed to buying storebought. It’s so simple, and you can really give them a flavor that you will love this way.
Milanesa-Style Eggplant Parmesan
1 Eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick circles
Dipping “Egg” Replacer (I use finely ground flax seeds [1 tablespoon] in 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg)
Whole Wheat pasta of choice (I like rotini or penne in dishes like this)
Marinara Sauce (I use my fiance’s secret recipe all the way from Vieste, Italy, but you can use your favorite jar of vegan marinara)
Galaxy Vegan Mozarella Cheese, shredded
Bread Crumbs (see recipe for my homemade crumbs)
Olive Oil for Frying
Cook pasta and strain. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium to large skillet. Lightly dip eggplant pieces in your flax “egg” then dip in bread crumbs. Place eggplant pieces in hot oil (make sure oil isn’t so deep that it completely covers the eggplant). After about 3 minutes, flip and continue to let fry. Remove from heat and place on absorbent material to suck out the extra oil.
Like a true Italian boy, my man loves his super breaded...I like mine very lightly breaded, so we do half the dish lightly breaded, and half super breaded...I'm sure you can tell whose eggplant is whose!!
In a baking dish, put a thin layer of your marinara sauce on the bottom. Place a thin layer of your pasta on this, then a layer of the eggplant, then a layer of cheese. Repeat this process so you have two layers of each thing. Pop this in the oven at 400 until the cheese is melty…about 12 minutes or so. Sprinkle with some nutritional yeast, and enjoy!
Bread Crumb Recipe
2 pieces of your favorite whole-grain bread, toasted until crispy, but not burnt
Tear toast into small pieces and put in a blender or food processor. Spice with the following spices according to your personal taste. Blend until you have small, uniform crumbs.