- 1 eggplant
- Whites of 3 eggs
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pinch salt
- Pinch black pepper
- 3 Pinches chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric bought already mixed with black pepper
- 1 cup (more if needed) Panko (fine not large crumbs)
- Pesto sauce (make it ahead of time)
- Freshly made mozzarella
- 1 red pepper (for garnish)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Make your pesto sauce ahead of time (see recipe below)
2. Preheat oven to 375
3. With a brush, oil a baking sheet
4. Cut the red pepper in half and clean out the seeds and white skin. Drizzle a little olive oil over the pepper, put on a large piece of foil and bake in the oven until it’s soft. When cool enough, slice red ribbons of pepper and set aside
5. In a small bowl whisk together, the 3 egg whites, teaspoon olive oil, a pinch of salt, black pepper.
6. In another bowl put in the Panko, stir in the chili flakes, the parmesan cheese, the turmeric.
7. Now, slice the eggplant into slices 1/2 inch thick and dip them first into the egg white mixture, then into the Panko/parmesan crumbs
8. Next, put the eggplant circles on the oiled baking sheet and bake until golden brown. When done, turn them over and bake until golden brown on the other side. When done, set aside until10 minutes before you’re ready to serve them.
9. While the eggplant is baking, cut the fresh mozzarella into slices 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick, then set aside.
Just before serving, give yourself time to heat the appetizer (or side dish, or veggie with fish or eggplant with pasta): On the baking sheet, already used, put a slice of the mozzarella you’ve already cut, then a circle of the baked eggplant, then a generous 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of the pesto sauce, on top of the eggplant. Put these appetizer circles into the oven for 5 minutes, until they warm up and the mozzarella gets gooey.
Take out of the oven, and arrange on a serving platter, or individual small appetizer plates, drizzling extra pesto sauce around the eggplant. As the last touch, add a tiny ribbon of roasted red pepper to the top of the eggplant circles, and serve immediately with a favorite cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir like (Napa Valley) Paul Hobbs or a well-chilled sauvignon blanc, like (New Zealand) Te Koko
Jules is traveling on business, outside the U.S. leaving on a night flight, so we had a light repast before he left for JFK, including these eggplant appetizers with Te Koko sauvignon blanc. The eggplant circles are a delicious combo of many ingredients and are adaptable. For example, they could be a main dish (with rice or pasta or just some good bread) or side dish with any fish, or one of several veggie items offered at a meatless meal. Jules and I are trending toward more and more meat-free meals. We’re not vegan or paleo, just feeling better with less meat.
On the night that Jules left, this eggplant recipe was a perfect appetizer with the chilled white wine. A cautionary note: I’m still working on the mozzarella. If you plan to make this, I would suggest putting the slice of mozzarella on top of the already baked eggplant circle, then the pesto sauce, and finally, the ribbon of roasted red pepper. Put this into the 350 to 375 oven for five minutes to let the cheese melt a little, so you can serve it warm and gooey. Perfect with chilled wine and probably good with red also.
No theater this week. There is a story to tell, nevertheless. I had to have a root canal this week and always approach things like this (pain) with apprehension and dread. My last root canal ended with up at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, needing their best oral and maxillofacial surgeon to treat a terrible swollen infection, that required high doses of levaquin, a strong antibiotic for superbugs. Nearly hospitalized with 24 hour antibiotic IV. You can imagine how nail-biting this week’s root canal appointment was. However, I can report in glowing terms, that I have discovered the best dentist in all of NYC. What difference intelligence, personality, and the latest equipment make! Plus, no pain! Like a miracle (worth sharing! In case you are ever in need of the best endodontist imaginable, his name is Joshua H. Brickman DMD, at 1414 Sixth Avenue (corner of West 58th Street, 19th floor).
So-o, this was a satisfying, excellent week!