I had an eggplant in the fridge from a recent trip to a local farmer's market. I'm the only eggplant eating person in my household, so was trying to come up with something to do with it where I could freeze what I didn't eat.
My memory took me back to my paternal grandmother frying eggplant on her patio in the summertime. I'm pretty sure she did it outside because she didn't want the inside of her house to smell like fried food....which was somewhat ironic as she was quite the smoker.
So, I decided to go off the health train and fry some eggplant! I paired it with fresh mozzarella and sauteed orange bell peppers and then topped it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. It was delish. The creaminess of the cheese paired nicely with the crunchiness of the eggplant and was complimented perfectly with the sweetness of the pepper.
I couldn't come up with a clever name for the dish - so the descriptive route is what I chose!
The inside of my house did smell like fried food all day - I had to open all of the doors and light some candles!
Eggplant and Fresh Mozzarella with Bell Pepper
1 medium eggplant
16 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 large orange bell pepper (or any color!), diced
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons whole ground flaxseed meal
1 1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, either grated or shredded
Crushed red chili pepper flakes
Dried (or fresh!) parsley
Slice the eggplant, about 1/2 inch thick. Lay sliced eggplant on paper towels and sprinkle with salt - let sit for about 30 minutes.
Using three separate bowls, prepare your flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Add your flour and whole ground flaxseed meal to one, your eggs to the second, and your breadcrumbs and Parmesan to the third. Season all three with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Add your vegetable oil to a large saute pan - about 1 inch thick and begin to heat over medium-high heat. Taking your eggplant slices, cover in flour, then in your eggs, then in your breadcrumb mixture - then add to the oil. Cook the eggplant, turning once, until brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. You can keep these warm in the oven set to a low heat as you cook the rest. Continue this process with the remaining slices of eggplant.
Saute your diced bell pepper in some olive oil, season with salt and pepper, until cooked through.
When you are ready to plate, alternate a slice of eggplant with a slice of mozzarella. Pile your sauteed bell peppers in the middle. Top with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I actually used a balsamic vinegar reduction). Finish off with salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and parsley. You can create individual plates or create one big platter that can be served family style.
Please remember to be safe when cooking with oil and dispose of properly. Let it cool, pour into a sealable, disposable container and put in the trash. Wipe out pan with paper towels to get remaining oil before washing your pan in the sink.