Saturday, September 15, 2007

Japanese Eggplant "Parm"

Served here with sauteed mushrooms and spinach and whole wheat penne. Garnished with fresh basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

*3 Japanese Eggplant
*1 recipe veg web vegan tempura prepared as in my sushi post, with 1/2 AP flour and 1/2 rice flour
*1-2 cups panko breadcups, seasoned with dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, red pepper powder)
*Oil for frying (I used a peanut and safflower mix)
*1 26 oz. jar marinara sauce
*handful of shredded vegan cheese

Heat oil in a deep pot to frying temp and prepare a deep pie pan with a layer of marinara. Cup eggplant on a bias, in 3/4 inch slices. Toss slices in bowl of tempura batter. Next, roll individual slices in the seasoned panko, and fry in batches until golden (flip halfway through frying with a chopstick). Place one layer of fried eggplant in the prepared pan, season with kosher salt and black pepper, top with more marinara and another layer of eggplant, season with more salt and pepper, then cover with another layer of sauce. Top with vegan cheese and bake at 375 on the top rack of oven until bubbly, about ten minutes. If cheese doesn't melt, broil briefly. Fyh vegan cheese can be temperamental though, so don't worry too much either way, it will taste good anyway. Alternately melt the cheese in a saucepan and pour on top of baked dish before serving.

I've always made killer eggplant parm, at least according to many a well-fed roommate. This vegan variation is my favorite yet, and trust me, I've done a lot of eggplant troubleshooting. Getting rid of the dairy fat allows you to taste the eggplant and tomato much better, and the Asian-ized eggplant component fries up fluffier and crisper than the traditional Italian application. I added some follow your heart monterrey jack and cheddar I already had shredded, but it's plenty good without it. I've also made batches with silken tofu + raw cashew + nutritional yeast cheezes, and that's quite good as well, though if you do that, I suggest that you add a dollop of the cheez on each serving after you bake it. I think baking the tofu-nut mixes tends to take away from their texture in this case.

UPDATE: I think I've improved this further. I make it often enough, right? I had about a block's worth of leftover fyh cheeses, 1/3 cheddar and 2/3 mozzerella. So I melted them fully in a saucepan, whisking away al the while, and then drizzled some directly on top on each layer of fried goodness then covered each with the marinara. A bit of melted cheese was on top for prettiness. This was pretty unbelieveable. I really don't think people would know this was fake cheese. At all.


yvonne said...

i love your blog. but like, for realsies, i do.

if only you could add some acoustic train songs to play in the background...

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

That sounds fantastic! I've made eggplant parm in the past, but the tempura aspect sounds like an upgrade to mine!

Jillian said...

Melisser: another upgrade is the fact that Japanese eggplants don't need to be soaked or salted to remove bitterness. They're already sweet and cook faster than conventional eggplant. Also...the leftovers are fantastic-- even cold. Hope you try it :)

macbeach said...

Yummy... I love eggplant!! Can I come over next time you're making it?