A little more than two years I started writing this blog in earnest, posting several times a week and diligently photographing the food in the posts. My main reason for taking my blogging seriously? The movie Julie and Julia, as this tribute attests. I was astounded by Julie Powell’s dedication to completing all of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking – almost two a day – in 365 days AND blogging about it. That’s what I call perseverance!
That said, I am taking a page from her book and cooking from Molto Italiano, by Mario Batali. Fear not, there are no plans to cook the entire book, but a decent selection of the recipes because I am always so inspired when reading anything he has produced.
Breaded and fried fresh eggplant is one of the most delicious foods on earth. Dip eggplant slices in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fry in a shallow amount of oil. Ecco-la! (Italian for voila!) Food of the gods! Crunchy crust with meltingly mellow eggplant inside. In this recipe, Mario drizzles aged balsamic vinegar over the fried slices; it was delicious, but don’t stop the lack of aged vinegar from making this treat. Regular balsamic vinegar was great as well! Buon Appetito!
Do not fear the breading process – it is simple if you the follow the instructions below, and this technique works for any breaded foods – chicken, zucchini, veal – whatever your heart desires!
Fried Eggplant with Aged Balsamic Vinegar (from Molto Italiano)
3-5 longish Italian eggplant (globe), cut in 1/3 inch slices (trim the ends and discard)
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs beaten
3 cups bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
olive oil for frying
aged balsamic vinegar, or regular balsamic vinegar to sprinkle
Set up you breading station with a small plate and put flour in it. Next place small bowl with beaten egg, and lastly large plate or large soup bowl with bread crumbs. With your left hand, press the eggplant slice into the flour on both sides, tapping it to shake off the excess. Still using your left hand, dip the slice into the egg until it adheres to both sides. Still holding the slice in your left hand place it on the bread crumbs and use your right hand (still dry) to scoop bread crumbs over the slice and press them into the slice to adhere. Still using your right hand, tap off excess crumbs and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside. To recap – left hand is flour and egg (it will begin to stick to your fingers, rinse occasionally) and right hand is dry with bread crumbs and completed slice. Complete with all slices and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Heat olive oil in deep skillet, about 1 inch deep, over medium high heat, until just beginning to smoke. Place slices in oil and fry until golden brown on each side; remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Fry in batches until all are cooked, remembering to allow oil to reheat in between batches – look for smoking oil – before adding fresh slices. Season with salt and sprinkle with balsamic and serve immediately.
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