Monday, July 23, 2007

Ode to Aubergine

Aubergine. Doesn't that word just roll off your tongue? Doesn't it sound exotic and mysterious? Now, say "eggplant." It just isn't the same, is it? Eggplant brings to my mind a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree type of plant drooping under the weight of stinky boiled eggs on its branches. I like deviled eggs just as much as the next person, but that image just doesn't do it for me. Give me the intrigue of the aubergine.

Aubergine is French for eggplant, and any way you say it, I like my eggplant sliced and breaded. I have tried other preparations, but none seem to hold the meatiness and preserve the texture of the eggplant like the breading. Once breaded, different variations of Eggplant Parmesan find their way onto my plate. I have made the traditional baked dish; plopped the discs of eggplant on top of a pizza; and created sandwiches. I like that the breading and baking or frying of the eggplant slices can take place at one time, and the remainder of the prep for the dishes can happen whenever we are finally ready for our meal.

Today's Aubergine (Eggplant, if you must) and Tomato Sandwich begs for fresh garden tomatoes. The garlic and thyme blend to make an outstanding mayonnaise and enhance the Parmesan crusted eggplant slices. Of course, the better the bread, the better the sandwich. Don't skimp on this beauty. I want some aubergine On My Plate.

Aubergine (Eggplant, if you must) and Tomato Sandwich

1 egg, beaten
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
½ cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Dip eggplant slices into beaten egg, then breadcrumbs combined with the grated Parmesan.
Arrange on prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Turn slices over. Bake 10 minutes longer or until browned on both sides. Remove from oven.
Mix garlic and thyme into mayonnaise and spread on bread.
Layer the eggplant and tomato slices on bread.
Slice sandwich into 4 sections and serve. (Serves 4)

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