Panko-crusted eggplant cutlets

A lovely specimen.

Shane hates eggplants. The skin is tough, the inside is mushy, and they don't taste like anything. I wanted to prove him wrong, and frying makes everything better, right? The parsley and the zest lend a little bite of fresh air to the crust that keeps it from being too overwhelmingly anti-diet tasting.

Panko-crusted eggplant
1 large globe eggplant

1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
zest of one large lemon
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

1/2 c. soy milk
1 tbs. cornstarch

1 3/4 c. panko (try to find one that doesn't have hydrogenated oils. You can probably substitute regular bread crumbs if you don't have any panko.)
1/4 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

canola oil

(This is probably enough for 4-5 people. We ate it all, except a few pieces I saved for lunch, in addition to sliced tofu that I panko-ed after marinating it in a little soy sauce. I am very, very full.)

Slice the eggplant into 1/4" thick cutlets. Rub the slices with a couple tablespoons of salt, and set in a colander for about an hour. Rinse and dry well.

Prepare the flour, soy milk, and panko mixtures (as separated in the list above) in three dishes.

Lightly coat a slice with flour, dip into the soy milk, then cover in panko (pat it on). Set aside on a plate and repeat until all slices are coated.

Heat a skillet over med-high heat with about 1/4" of oil. Gently place a few slices into the pan at a time, and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Remove with tongs and place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels/brown paper bags/whatever you want to use to drain the oil. You'll have to keep adding oil after every couple batches. Don't be scared!

Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with your favorite marinara!

I also attempted a slightly healthier, oven-baked version. It took about 12-15 minutes per side in a 425F oven. Make sure to spray the pan and the tops with some oil, otherwise they will be all starchy. They were crunchier than the pan-fried, but didn't quite have that melt-in-your mouth goodness. Not bad at all though.

Update: Just had the eggplant and tofu reheated for lunch and it was delicious! I was worried about the texture, as it was soggy, but still worked well. It was more like tofu and eggplant parmesan.


Celine said...

this is absolutely stunning! I'm usually not a fan of eggplant, but I like it that way and will definitely try your recipe. hooray!

Village Vegan said...

oh my god I am SO making that next time I buy eggplant. It looks so crispy and decadent and good.