When I first spotted this recipe on Pinterest I knew I had to make it at some point soon. It has 2 of my favorite things, eggplant and goat cheese, so I knew I would love it (and my husband is a fan too, so we were good to go). I know some people aren’t big fans of goat cheese, so I think subbing with feta or mozzarella would be great. I actually combines feta and goat cheese one time, because I didn’t have enough goat cheese, and it was delicious. Also, using 2 eggplants for this yields A LOT of food. I made it with 2 the first time, and had a ton of leftover food (and the sandwiches are delicious leftovers too…try them cold, amazing!), so the second time I made it with just one, and cut the recipe in half. It was still a little much for 2 people. I also made a small side of pasta to go with it, and it gave it more of an eggplant parmigiana feel.
Anyway, I don’t really ever fry food, but I thought I would give it a try. It wasn’t so hard, and the crispness on the eggplant was amazing. If you don’t have a lot of time, you could easily use a pre-made sauce, instead of making this one yourself. But, I do recommend you try this sauce at some point because it was delicious. Instead of a sweet basil flavor which seems most common in sauce, you get a sweet kick of tarragon, which is lovely. I have made this a few times now, and it’s fairly quick to make (about 30 minutes). It is a lot easier if you prep everything before and do it like an assembly line. The eggplant cooks very quickly, about a minute per side, so keep your eye on it.
Also, if you REALLY needed to save time it might be okay to skip the last step of baking the sandwiches entirely. I think with the warmth of the eggplant the cheese melts after a few minutes, and it doesn’t probably need to be baked. BUT, the eggplant you cooked in the first few batches, might be a little cold, so I guess that might be the benefit of baking.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 cups fresh or canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree one 28-ounce can
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon
- 1- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs I used plain Panko
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 eggplants peeled and cut to make sixteen 1/2-inch-thick slices in all
- 4 eggs beaten to mix
- Cooking oil for frying
- 1/2 pound mild goat cheese cut into 8 rounds
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tarragon, 3/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
3. Dip each slice of eggplant in the eggs and then in the bread-crumb mixture, coating well. In a large frying pan, heat about half an inch of cooking oil over moderate heat until very hot. Fry the eggplant in the hot oil, in batches, turning once, until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
4. Arrange half of the eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put a slice of goat cheese on top of each and then top with the remaining eggplant slices. Bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Put the sauce on plates and top with the eggplant.
Recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen.