Monday, October 26, 2009

Crispy Parmesan Eggplant Appetizers w/ Butternut Squash Marinara Sauce

One of my favorite Italian meals is eggplant Parmesan. Then my son Gabe assisted his friend, Cessna, who is studying to be a chef -- at a big fancy dinner. They made this very thin, very crisp, melt-in-your mouth appetizers that turned out to be maybe in the Top Ten Best Things I've Ever Tasted.

One eggplant makes a bunch. Great for cooking up while your guests are watching a ballgame or milling with you in the kitchen, tasting these amazing appetizers as soon as they come out of the pan.

I used Dave's Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (purchased at World Market) which was amazing, but you can dip these in any of your favorite marinara sauces or even Ranch Dressing. Or savor without any sauce.....

Crispy Eggplant Appetizers

Peel and cut one eggplant in veeery thin slices. Try for 1/8 inch if you can.

Prepare your "batter" station with 3 bowls, near the stove top.

In Bowl One: put 1 c flour
In Bowl Two: 2 eggs, beaten
In Bowl Three: 1 c. panko bread crumbs (available on Oriental aisle, I just stock up on these when I am at World Market because they are much less expensive here); 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese; 1 t. salt, 1 t. Italian seasoning, 1 t. pepper, 1/2 t. garlic powder.

Heat a skillet with 1/4 inch olive oil in bottom. Medium High temp.

One at a time, dip thin slices of eggplant into flour then egg (shaking off excess) and finally panko mixture. Fry until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel, taste to see if they need to be salted a bit (or not), then serve with sauce of your choice.

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