I have been so wiped out from working retail hours again, that I haven't had much time to cook. Or even write about cooking. I gotta snap out of it, because I really miss it. Popping an (organic) frozen pizza into the oven, just isn't cutting it anymore. I'm drained from dealing with people and then not eating well on top of that just isn't helping the situation. I did manage to make a trip to Costco to do a mystery shop and pick up some fresh produce. I'm dying here for the farmer's markets to pop up again. So, when I spotted these green house grown eggplants, I just had to splurge. I love eggplant! It's just such a versatile vegetable, and can transform a mundane vegetarian meal into a feast. That's right, baby! A feast! It's so "meaty" and filling, I think a lot of carnivores forget about it all too often. I was shocked to hear from a friend, that he has NEVER eaten eggplant. Never! Such a sad, sad life he must have led. And what kind of household did he grown up in anyway?! Makes me question everything...
I find it best to sweat it out a little before frying up. A lot of people are tempted to skip this step, but I really urge you not to! Especially, if you're frying it up. It makes the veggie, much softer and thus, more delish.
Servings: 2 Eggplant Lovers or 2 Convertible Eggplant Lovers
1 Small Eggplant-Sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
Coarse Sea Salt
1 Egg-beaten (yea. beat that egg, beat it good)
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs-with 1 TBS Dried Oregano added and a little S&P. Mix well.
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Organic Fresh Spinach
S & P
1 Ripe Tomatoes-Sliced
1 Cup Jarred Marinara
1 Egg Poached (optional)
Fresh Herbs (optional)
1/4 Cup FRESH Shredded Mozzarella (optional)
Slice eggplant into about 1/2 inch rounds. Sprinkle with coarse salt (on both sides) and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Let them "sweat" for about 30 mins., or until softer. Heat Vegetable oil in a Medium fry pan over Med-Low heat. Place rounds in the colander and rinse off salt under cold water. Squeeze out rounds. Drag through flour, then egg, then Panko bread crumb mixture.
Using tongs, add the rounds to hot oil and fry up until nice and golden on each side. I like to keep my oil hot, but not too hot. That way it does take longer to fry, but nothing will be burned then. Line the rounds of fried eggplant on a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Wilt fresh spinach with a little olive oil and S & P. I JUST wilt it, to have a fresh green color to the spinach.
Poach your egg. Try not to over cook yours, like I did mine :)
Spoon marinara onto plate. Add the spinach, a few rounds of the eggplant, top with tomato and the egg. Add a sprinkle of cheese and fresh herbs.