I might be the only person in the world to absolutely adore eggplants; heart, soul, and mind. Their color is gorgeous (even the word “aubergine” is delectable). When eggplant season comes around, you better believe I’m eating eggplant every day.
My husband had never had an eggplant before I met him. My husband had never had good eggplant before I met him. His grandmother had made a gloppy mess: seedy, flavorless, and unsalted. He was noticeably not excited when I mentioned eggplant was on the menu. I changed his mind, and if you give me the chance, I can change yours, too.
The best kind of eggplant in my opinion is breaded. Of course I love eggplant parm. When I was overdue with the little guy, I even made Scalini’s Eggplant Parm to try and induce labor. Instead it induced a food coma, which was also great. This recipe was a lot of work, though, which before kids was fine. As a kid, eggplant season meant breaded and broiled eggplant slices served fresh from the oven with sour cream. My recipe comes with inspiration from both the former and latter, and it reminds me of a kind of eggplant-crust pizza. I am not ashamed to admit that I ate an entire eggplant this way and didn’t share any with my son.
Eggplant “Pizza” with Tomato Pesto Sauce
1 Eggplant, peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch rounds or slightly thinner (you don’t want them too thick, or they don’t cook well)
1 cup of milk (I used whole this time, but have used skim in the past)
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs or very finely crushed butter crackers
1 oz pre-prepared pesto (I made this ahead and froze in ice cube trays for easy use!)
2 ripe med. tomatoes
1/4 tsp. pepper
- Slice eggplant thinly and place on paper towel-lined baking sheets. Salt each layer generously and then cover baking sheet with a final layer of paper towels. On top of the baking sheet place some heavy books and let eggplant rest for two hours.
- Dice tomatoes and place into saucepan, including juice and seeds. Add pepper and pesto and allow to simmer gently until mixture becomes a sauce. Keep on low.
- Place rack at topmost position (broiling position) in oven and then preheat broiler to High. Rinse the eggplant to remove excess salt and pat dry. Working in batches, dip the slices of eggplant in the milk and then the breadcrumbs; ensure even covering on both sides.
- Place eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil for three minutes. Remove from oven with mitts, flip eggplant, and broil other side for two minutes. The breadcrumbs should slightly brown, but not burn, and the eggplant should soften. Repeat until all eggplant has been broiled.
- Serve eggplant spread with sour cream and topped with a spoonful of fresh tomato-pesto.
My favorite part of this recipe: I got to use my own eggplant, basil, and tomatoes. Try this with your fresh produce! It’s quick (minus the resting time) and delicious!