By Emily McLaughlin
I am all about everything Japanese, obviously. ;)
Jokes aside… Japanese food is one of my preferred cuisines (tied with Italian). One of my favorite things to do lately, is fuse Asian flavors into everything I cook, hence: Japanese-style eggplant parm. I’ve made Italian-style eggplant parm and chicken parm countless times, but this time around I wanted to switch up the breadcrumbs and traditional sauces to make for a more Japanese-esque dish.
Building off a Veggie Stick recipe from the summer, I perfected an eggplant parm to tantalize your taste buds. This dish is not just delicious but also simple to prepare and easy on that bank account.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch circular slices
- 1/2+ cup flour (have extra on hand)
- 1+ eggs, lightly beaten (same as flour, have another on hand)
- 3/4+ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I mixed dried basil, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, a little onion powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes)
- oil for pan-searing (I like canola or vegetable oil)
- Fresh basil leaves
- Mozzarella cheese
- Sliced tomato (to thickness of eggplant)
- Tomato sauce
- Position a rack in middle of the oven and heat the broiler to low. Place the eggplant slices in a bowl of water for 5 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients.
- Place the flour in a wide, shallow dish. Do the same with the egg, whisk and aside. Mix the panko, parmesan cheese and seasonings together in a third shallow dish.
- Remove the eggplant slices from the bowl and pat dry with paper towels. Bread the eggplant by coating a few slices in the flour mixture. Next coat the eggplant with egg, then press into the panko bowl. Be sure to coat the slices thoroughly at each step. Place battered eggplant on a baking sheet until they have all been coated.
- Line another baking sheet with paper towel.
- Fill a large, straight-sided skillet or frying pan with 1/2 inch of the oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is hot enough (through a panko crumb in there, if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough).
- Add about a third of the eggplant slices and fry on one side until golden brown, take less than a minute in some cases. Carefully flip and fry the other side until golden brown. Remove the eggplant and place on the paper towel, and repeat with the remaining eggplant. N.B. Occasionally you might have to remove excess batter from the surface of the oil so that it does not burn and smoke, so have a wooden spoon on hand. Also, you may need to add more oil as you go along, so have that handy as well.
- Lightly coat your first baking sheet with non-stick spray. Arrange one eggplant slice, mozzarella cheese, then tomato slice. Repeat until all used up. Drizzle with some tomato sauce and basil leaves.
- Place in the oven to broil until the cheese has melted. Serve right away over a bed of past or sautéed greens — with some extra sauce and Parm. cheese, of course.