Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fried Eggplant with roasted vegetables, goat cheese and strawberries

If only you could eat pictures.....

This dish is a play on what I did last week, because I couldn't stop thinking about how delectable it was. Anytime I find a flavor combo I enjoy that much, I want to try and see if I can improve on it. Making a dish healthier is obviously a goal of mine, so I wanted to replace the bread with a food containing more nutritional value. Whole wheat bread is great, but I never need more bread in my diet, I get PLENTY of that. 

This time I used eggplants and the outcome was extraordinary. The fried eggplants were tender, yet crunchy with the breading. Fried eggplant made a perfect base for this dish, and stepped up the dish in presentation. I think you could serve this to your meat eating friends and they would enjoy as much as any meat dish. The colors and layers look elegant, yet still fun and easy to eat. The combination of goat cheese, vegetables, and strawberries was heavenly as usual, this may be one of my new favorite dishes. 

Again about 50 percent of the ingredients were local, I am LOVING all the access to fresh local food. Makes cooking that much more fun and friendly to our sweet worn out environment. 

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! 

To Dry an eggplant: Slice into 1/2 inch disks and place on a plate with paper towels. Place a pinch of salt on each slice and rub in on both sides. Place a paper towel over the salted eggplants and let drain for at least 20 minutes or up to 40 minutes. Remove salt from eggplants before cooking. 
Fried Eggplant with roasted vegetables, goat cheese and strawberries

The Goods: Serves 2-3 as main dish

Fried Eggplant:
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices, dried(see note above)
1 large egg
1/2 cup white unbleached flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2-3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and Pepper

1 quart strawberries, sliced
8 ounces rosemary and fig goat cheese
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 medium zucchinis, sliced into 1/2 inch coins
1-2 tablespoons Greek Vinegrette dressing
Salt and Pepper

The Deal: 
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl combine onions, zucchini and 1 tablespoon of greek dressing. Make sure to evenly coat all the vegetables, add more dressing if needed. Set bowl aside.

2. Combine the flour and a good pinch of pepper on one plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow dish with a dash of water. Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper in a third dish.
Your breading an eggplant station
3. Coat each slice of eggplant with flour and dip into the eggs. Remove the eggplant from the eggs, letting any excess drip off, and then coat evenly with breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs to adhere. Place on a large plate until all eggplant slices are coated.
Coat in flour
Excess dripping off

Breaded, ready to fry!
4. Place zucchini and onions on large baking sheet and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning twice during cooking time to ensure even browning. Remove once onions and zucchinis are lightly browned and fork slides in easily.

5. While the vegetables are cooking, place a large saute pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Once water sizzles on the pan, fry 2-3 slices of eggplants at a time, being sure they do not touch in the pan. Fry for about 3 minutes, then flip to cook other side. Remove when breadcrumbs are slightly browned and fork slides easily in eggplant. Fry the remaining eggplants, adding additional grapeseed oil as needed. 

6. To plate your dish, place fried eggplant, a large dollop of goat cheese, your roasted vegetables, then a few slices of strawberries. Serve warm.
Such lovely spring colors! 

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