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Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Posted by publickman (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 14, 14 at 13:46

Yesterday I finished making eggplant Parmiggiana - I fried the eggplant (that I had bought at the farmers' market Sunday) on Tuesday, and by the time that was done, it was too late to finish the dish, and so I stored the eggplant on paper towels overnight. Normally I bread the eggplant like Lidias's recipe using Panko, but the Panko I had was old, and so I skipped breading because the recipe in my Italian cookbook does not call for breading. I really like it breaded, but that was a step I thought would save time if I didn't have to do it. The eggplant was exremely good, and I ate a bit of it cold, as I had more cooked eggplant than I needed.

Since I did not bread the eggplant, should I have added layers of bread crumbs? The dish was okay but not as good as when I breaded the eggplant. The other substitution I made was Fontina for Mozzarella, and I would not do that again either. I like Fontina on pizza and stuffed Portobellos, but I did not like it in this dish as much as I do Mozzarella.

So, do you bread your eggplant before frying it for this dish? I would not bread it for Moussaka, which I would have made if I had had ground meat, but since I had all the ingredients for the Parmigiana (minus the Moz), I decided to make that instead. Half of it is left over, and so I will probably add bread crumbs before reheating it.

Lars


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I'm curious, Lars. Did you salt the eggplant or soak it in milk before frying? Did you flour it before frying? When you use breadcrumbs, do you flour first, then dip in an egg wash before putting on the crumbs?

When I make eggplant parm or mousakka, I'm usually pretty lazy. So I just bake the slices in a hot oven, turning once. I brush them with olive oil before baking. When I'm not lazy, I'll do the flour dredge, egg wash, and then back to flour.

My mom used to just flour eggplant slices -- no egg wash. Actually, I think floured & fried slices are my favorite way to prepare eggplant. No competing flavors to cover up the eggplant. My mom used to make skordalia to go with fried eggplant slices, fried fish, and cooked beets. My dad loved that meal!


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I always salt the eggplant first. In this case, I salted it, allowed it to sit in a pasta strainer for one hour, and then I wiped it off, but I did not rinse it with water. Then I fried it in half an inch of oil in a very large skillet. Normally, I dip the eggplant slices (after I wipe them off) in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs (Panko). I season the flour with cayenne, but no salt, because the eggplant has already been salted.

I had not thought of baking the eggplant slices - that would be much easier.

I do love the eggplant just fried with nothing else, but a coating of flour would be nice! Eggplant at the farmers' market seemed expensive, although I do not know exactly how much it cost because I also bought garlic (very juicy), broccoli, and something else from the same vendor. It seemed like the eggplant cost about $3 each, but they were sold by the pound, and I never saw the price. I guess I was caught up in the moment. Whatever they cost, they were worth it! I will be more attentive when I go back.

Next time I make eggplant (next week, I hope), I will make Moussaka - unless I make babaganoush.

Lars


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I don't bread eggplant for eggplant parm. The style I make is layered and served like lasagna Breading would not seem right for that.

Some restaurants serve a different style where slices are breaded, fried, and placed on the pasta with sauce. I don't care for that so much.

These days I more often make Papoutsakias or Imam Bayaldi. Eggplant Parmesan no so much, although I do like it.

A dozen big plants are getting ready to set fruit soon in my garden. Good eating ahead!

Jum


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I have done it both ways but I LOVE restaurant style which is breaded and fried. I don't fry at home, I just bread and oven bake, but the frying takes it to a better level, imo.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I haven't eaten it breaded and fried yet, but I sure will. It sounds good.
We've been buying it at the market and grilling it, and other veggies and making paninis out of it. Hubby loves it. This summer was our first time eating eggplant.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Eggplant Parm is the major way that I use up leftover bread, so, yes, I bread it. It is a huge production, starting with making the bread crumbs, toasting them, seasoning them, and then using an egg dip and deep frying the eggplant.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

If I'm going to make Eggplant Parmesan, I bread it using fresh bread crumbs, not panko.

If I'm making a layered eggplant lasagna, then it doesn't need to be breaded.

~Ann


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Eggplant lasagna sounds good - I will have to try that. I've made Eggplant Parmesan with fresh bread crumbs, but I prefer it with Panko. However, if I do not have Panko, I will use fresh bread crumbs. It comes out crisper with Panko, but that of course is lost after it is baked.

My Greek cookbook has a recipe for Papoutsakias, and I passed over it, but now I will look at it again. I does look a lot easier to make. I also like Makdous, but I buy those in a jar and have not made them yet.

Lars


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Lars,

In case it wasn't clear, by "lasagna" I simply meant to stack the eggplant slices as if making lasagna, alternating layers with cheese and sauce. In other words, sub cooked eggplant slices for noodles.

BTW, like shambo, I coat the eggplant slices with oil before frying or baking. It's a way of controlling the amount of oil which gets absorbed.

An interesting and inspiring article is linked below.

Jim

Here is a link that might be useful: Eggplant Article


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I don't bread, but that's because wheat is an asthma trigger for me and I don't care for the way gluten-free flours behave.

But if I could I sure would. I think it tastes a thousand times better if you bread.

So usually I just make rollatini or something like the "lasagna" listed above instead.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

This thread is such a fun read! I haven't made eggplant parm in a really really long time, but when I did I did the flour, egg, flour. I think some kind of coating is nice for integrating the sauce.

There's a way of frying eggplant without any coating (it starts frozen) where it'll make a firm, light colored skin of its own with creamy, fully cooked flesh inside, but I've never learned how to do it (tried many times but I'm kind of hopeless at frying).


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

There is a restaurant in the mountains about 35 minutes from here. The place is our getaway. We book a night, and once we had her Eggplant Parmesan, we always go there. Nobody does it like her. They don't have a liquor license so no wine! Still, we go! We just enjoy a bottle at our Alpine lodge when we get back.

I'm trying to figure out what she does. Tough. I did find out she breads with leftover bread crumbs from bread that doesn't sell. That's the only secret I got. But hers are 1" thick, crunchy outside, and like custard inside!

Would love to duplicate it. I've got her chicken Picatta down pretty good, that the Eggplant Parmesan has me stumped.

It's like no other I have ever had.

Suzi


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Lars, csn you point me yo a food recipe for moussaka? I have never had it and I have a ton of garden zuchini to use.

I just made zuchini parm at our beach cabana where we don't have a stove and I was surprised how easy and how much I loved frying the slices on a griddle. I also think I prefer the zuch to eggplant, but u love eggplant, too :)


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Oh, and used tbe electric frying pan to finish. Have been enjoying using appliances I rarely use at home.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Here is the recipe I normally use:

Eggplant Parmigiana

2 medium eggplants (select ones that are long and somewhat narrow)
Kosher salt
Flour, for coating
2 eggs
2 tbsp water
1-1/2 cups Panko or dry breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp cayenne
Avocado or grape seed oil, for deep frying
1 pound Mozzarella
1/4 pound sharp Provolone
1/4 pound Parmesan cheese

Sauce:
1-1/2 cups (12 oz.) Marinara (tomato) sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Directions:

Slice the eggplant into 1/2” thick rounds and place in a large bowl with a large amount of salt, enough to coat all cut sides. You can toss the slices in the bowl if it has a cover to get the salt more evenly distributed. Then place the slices in a colander or other large pan (such as a steaming basket) with the slices vertical, and allow it to drain for one hour. Remove the slices from the colander and wipe off the excess salt with a brush or towel, and dry the pieces with a clean towel if they are very damp. Note: Do not leave overnight!

While the eggplant is draining, add the basil, olive oil, and garlic to the tomato sauce for extra flavor. It is not necessary to cook the sauce at this point. Prepare the mozzarella by cutting it into fairly thin slices, and grate the Provolone and Parmesan.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan to 375° and have a platter ready with paper towels for draining. Place about a cup of flour in a bowl for dipping, and mix the breadcrumbs with the cayenne in another bowl. Blend the eggs with the 2 tbsp water in a third bowl, and place the bowls in a row for coating. Prepare each slice by first lightly coating it with flour (shake off excess flour), dipping in egg, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture. Deep-fry each slice in the oil until lightly golden on both sides (approx. 3 minutes per side) and then drain on paper towels.

When all the slices have been fried, get an 8”x13” (or equivalent) glass or ceramic baking dish and brush olive oil on the bottom and sides to prevent sticking. Spread a very thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, and then place a layer of eggplant over that. Put a small amount of tomato sauce over each slice and then a slice of mozzarella over each piece, and sprinkle a bit of Provolone and Parmesan over that layer. Repeat this process until the baking dish is full, but do not overfill. The final layer will be tomato sauce with no cheese. I prefer to have all the cheese between the layers of eggplant, but you can put some on top as well.

Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Pinot Noir or Chiati is good with this dish. I serve it with a side dish of pasta plus bread.

I have another version that I make using okra instead of eggplant, but you can definitely use zucchini instead of eggplant, but eggplant is my favorite.

Lars


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

Ahhh thank you for that! I was wondering about the mousaka. I looked it up, will have to try it.


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RE: Eggplant Parm - to bread or not to bread

I fix it both ways. Something I do in the summer that really kicks up the flavor is, I always add slices of big fresh tomatoes, sprinkle wf salt and pepper and broil for a couple of minutes but still on the firm side. Then I place a fresh tomato slice on each eggplant slice layering with cheese, eggplant etc. It really adds so much fresh flavor.


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