Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hazelnut, meet Eggplant.

Baked Hazelnut Breaded Eggplant.
It only looks like a Boca Cutlet.

The other night I gave myself the classic challenge - make dinner using what you actually have at home. There were ideas that came to mind quickly: a stir fry with rice, sauteing vegetables over pasta and even making pizza dough, but I wanted to side step a bed of grains.

The arrangement:
I turned to the local eggplant*, and introduced it do the last of some homemade breadcrumbs in my freezer and a container of ground hazelnuts from too long ago. After the small talk was out of the way, dinner came together quickly.

The eggplant was sliced (skipped salting, don't tell my Italian great Aunt Helen), dipped in flour, a cornstarch + water slurry, and then both sides were pressed into a mixture of the breadcrumbs, ground hazelnuts, sea salt, black pepper, oregano and a bit of crushed red pepper.

I baked the slices on parchment paper at 375, 20 minutes one side, then 15 after flipping. I topped them with some tofu ricotta with added white miso, and a dollop of roasted garlic and almond pesto.

On the side is chopped fresh sweet green bell pepper tossed with balsamic vinegar and homemade shiitake marinara sauce.

Dinner #2 featured the eggplant slices just as vegan-traditional. Baked once again for 15-20 minutes in the oven at 400F, flipping once, topped with marinara, tofu ricotta and nutritional yeast, and baked an additional 5 minutes.

I served this with a side of steamed collards with sea salt.

*True Story: My younger sister Jenny was 'friends' with an eggplant from our garden when we were little. There's a picture of them dressed up in matching costumes, I swear. Or just really want to believe it. She was 6 or 7 or 12 or so at the time.
It's name was..."friend". I tell this story sweetly, but really, it was a scary time and eggplant was eaten.


VeggieGirl said...

So intriguing!!

Love the story attached to the recipes :)

Chelsea said...

Love eggplant! My mom would batter and fry eggplant from our garden growning up and it was delish.

The Voracious Vegan said...

That looks amazing! I bet those toppings were delicious too. I would never have thought to use hazelnuts this way, it is pure genius!

Hahaha love the story about your sister!

beanmail said...

Jess, this is awesome. Just wanted to share this eggplant story since I haven't heard you mention Daiya much. I convinced my Italian mom to cook "conventional" vegan eggplant parm for the first time in 35 years (before I was born) & supplied her with an unlimited supply of Daiya. The from scratch results were phenomenal. And oh yeah, since she's vegetarian and therefore still obsessed with cheese she used two entire packages of Daiya. It should be noted- much like my memories of cooking with cheese, you can't use too much Daiya.

Kris said...

Ooh! I'm not a huge eggplant fan, but these sound promising, especially with marinara and tofu ricotta. Yum!

veggievixen said...

wow, that is awesome. i bet it tastes fantastic too! you could probably make this instead of eating those fake chick'n patties. the morning star ones at least are made with egg whites.

Natalie said...

That came out great! I'm glad you got such a tasty meal from leftover bits and pieces. It really is a challenge to put together a meal from all that's left in the house, especially if it's the day before food shopping can happen! If you're interested, I'll share my recipe from a similar experience:

radioactivegan said...

I just want to say, if you can come up with that picture I'd love to see it :)

Carrie™ said...

HAHA! The story of your sister and her eggplant cracked me up. I had visions similar to Linus in the pumpkin patch.

PB and Jess said...

Eggplant is awesome on it's own, but you definitely took it to another level. I like to use hazelnuts in everything!

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