Eggplant is typically breaded and fried in many dishes, as most of you already know; then it’s either stuffed with cheese or layered into sauces or casseroles. Granted that’s all pretty good, but, with this dish you just use the parmesan cheese as you would the breadcrumbs. I lightly salted the eggplant and drained it on paper towels, then blotted it dry before dipping it into the egg so the cheese would stick. I sprinkled both sides of the eggplant slices with the parmesan and then baked them in a low temperature oven for about one half an hour, turning once after twenty minutes, which is when they began to turn golden brown. The trick to this is having eggplant slices that are as dry as possible before dipping them in the egg. After that it’s all pretty easy.
Once your eggplant parmesan crisps are all crispy and golden brown you can let them cool on paper towels to crisp up further or you can use them to wrap up some ricotta filling and then bake as you would an eggplant rollatini, or you could use them in these tomato towers as I did (above). It’s a good way to highlight the bounty of eggplant and tomato this time of year when searching for something slightly more unique and light than eggplant parmesan. Raw tomato slices and basil leaves between the eggplant parmesan crisps round out this light and seasonal near-salad dish. Feel free to toss some toasted pine nuts and garlic or basil oil at the end if you have it on hand. I had some garlic-basil olive oil and it was phenomenal for finishing the tomato tower.
Eggplant Parmesan Crisps
- 1 eggplant about four inches in diameter
- 3 whole eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
- salt and pepper
- three large garlic cloves, pressed (or very finely minced)
- finely grated parmesan cheese
- Garlic-basil oil
- fresh herbs and cracked black pepper
Remove skin from eggplant on two sides and slice lengthwise into planks 1/8th of an inch thin and approximately four inches wide and tall. Lightly salt the eggplant and drain on paper towels for ten minutes. Whisk together eggs, creme fraiche, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Blot the eggplant slices dry and dip into the egg mixture. Leave them there to allow them to soak up some of the egg and garlic. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet that will fit the eggplant slices in a single layer; either ungreased or parchment lined baking sheet will work.
When the oven is preheated, take the eggplant slices out of the egg mixture and drop into the grated parmesan cheese. The slices should be thoroughly coated on all sides. Place on prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, turning over once around the twenty minute mark, or when beginning to turn golden brown.
Remove from oven and drizzle with garlic-basil oil. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and cracked black pepper while warm, if desired.
Tomato towers with Eggplant Parmesan Crisps
- tomato slices
- eggplant parmesan crisps
- basil leaves
- garlic-basil oil
- toasted pine nuts
- cracked black pepper
Slice tomatoes to one quarter of an inch. Starting with the eggplant parmesan crisps, layer all ingredients: eggplant, tomato, basil leaves, repeat until desired serving size is reached. Finish with garlic-basil oil. Add toasted pine nuts and cracked black pepper if desired.