I came across a freezer bag of oven-fried eggplant slices while rummaging for something the other day and thought: ‘Man, I really should use these up.’ They were the leftover bits from my last batch of eggplant parmesan, but we just had that not too, too long ago; and I was planning on grilling some chipotle-marinated chops for dinner, so the parm thing was a non-starter. What to do?
Well, all praise da… you know the drill.
Actually, this time it was all praise da Food Network and Emeril Lagasse – they had a cool recipe (literally) for a side-salad of roasted eggplant, tomatoes and feta cheese – that I totally would have made if it hadn’t been for the fact that I already had these frozen eggplant discs and all (I worried about them being too soggy after thawing; I also thought warm would work better with the chops and be more suitable on a crisp autumn evening).
If, like me, you have left over eggplant pieces stashed in your freezer, this is a wicked simple but kinda, sorta impressive salad/veggie thing to toss together. If you don’t have the leftover eggplant, this is still tasty enough that it is worth your while to do the whole oven-fried thing – or – better yet – make a nice eggplant parmesan one evening, and then use the leftover discs for this lovely little treat the night after, BOOYAH!
Assuming you’re starting from scratch, here’s what you’ll need – tho’ I should add that one eggplant, for us, goes a LOOOOONG way, and I would plan on having a backup plan for the extra slices – which, strangely enough, brings us back to the beginning of this post and my bag o’ aubergine bits in the freezer…
Oven Fried Eggplant:
•2 cups Panko crumbs
•2 eggs and a bit of milk
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp lemon pepper
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/2 tsp parsley flakes
•1/2 tsp basil
•Dash of cayenne
•12 oven-fried eggplant slices – I had used the larger slices when I made the parmesan, but I think the smaller pieces from the ends of the eggplant work better in this recipe anyway
•Eight tomato slices
•Feta cheese, crumbled
•Basil olive oil
•Optional: a small drizzle of really good balsamic vinegar
First, the oven-fried eggplant.
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Beat eggs slightly, drop crumbs and seasonings into blender jar and blend well. Pour crumbs on plate.
Generously grease a large baking pan with shortening, heat pan several minutes in oven, dip eggplant into egg and then into crumbs. Place on hot baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes on one side, turn and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Eggplant cooled, we can proceed to the Napoleans:
As a salad:
Place 1 eggplant slice on a salad plate. Top with 1 tbsp of the cheese, then 1 slice of tomato. Drizzle 1 tsp of oil over the tomato, then another tbsp of cheese.
Top with another eggplant slice, and continue assembling, with 3 eggplant slices per napoleon, and ending with a cheese layer on top drizzled with oil.
Repeat to make four Napoleons. Serve at room temperature with a drizzle of balsamic across the top.
As a slightly roasted side dish:
Prepare as above, but in a baking dish. Roast at 350º for about 25 minutes, just to brown the edges.
Drizzle your balsamic over the top and serve warm from the oven, or let cool a bit and serve at room temperature.
I like it when a recipe is flexible…