Crispy slices of dredged and fried eggplant are layered into serving dishes and topped with marinara and creamy burrata for a comforting Italian vegetarian entree.
While American versions of eggplant parm are classically served with slices of fried eggplant with marinara and mozzarella alternately layered in a baking dish, I hate how the eggplant gets soggy in this casserole iteration. What’s the point of frying if it will just get soggy before serving? When baked to melt the cheese, the sauce ends up turning the breading to mush, mashing up what should be varying textures.
I had a similar appetizer version of this portioned, layered eggplant Parmesan at Emmy Squared on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I loved the way they stacked the eggplant slices rather than layering it so that each bite was crispy, saucy and cheesy. While not the classical preparation I think this is the perfect way to create individually portioned entrees with contrasting textures topped off with buttery portions of burrata.
Arrange eggplant slices on a paper towel lined baking sheet and season generously with salt, alternately layering paper towels and eggplant slices. Top with another baking sheet to weigh the slices down. Let sit for about 30 minutes to drain some of the water from the eggplant.
Add the panko, Parmesan, red pepper, garlic powder and black pepper to the bowl of a food processor and puree until fine. Add to a large mixing bowl and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl whisk the eggs and buttermilk together.
Add enough oil in a cast iron pot or heavy bottomed skillet to reach about 1” up the side of the pot. Heat the oil to 350ºF.
Working in batches a few slices at a time, dip a piece of the eggplant in the egg wash then dredge in the flour mixture, shaking off any of the excess.
Slowly add to the oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Divide the fried eggplant slices between small bowls. Top with ½ cup of the warmed marinara followed by a piece of burrata. Garnish with oregano and serve immediately.
DID YOU MAKE THIS?
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