Buttery eggplant is delicious and easy to prepare–add mozzarella cheese and it and makes a great burger alternative.
Eggplant is an excellent source of digestion supportive dietary fiber and bone building manganese. It is a very good source of enzyme catalyzing molybdenum and heart healthy potassium. Eggplant is also a good source of bone building vitamin K and magnesium as well as heart healthy copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and niacin. Eggplant also contains phytonutrients such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid. Eggplant contains other compounds that promote good health as well, even helping to prevent cancer and lowering cholesterol. It’s definitely worth making the oddly-shaped vegetable a regular part of your diet.
There are many different varieties of eggplant as well, ranging in color from the dark purple color and oval shape of the classic and globe varieties to the slender cylindrical shape of Chinese eggplant, the streaked purple and white color of Sicilian eggplant and the milk-white skin of several white varieties. Each type offers slightly different texture and taste, and preparation steps vary. For example, large common globe eggplants taste best when salted and allowed to “sweat” which removes any bitter taste. Liberally salt slices of raw eggplant (peeled or unpeeled), layer in a colander and allow to sit about an hour or more. Rinse, squeeze, and pat dry with towels. This removes any bitter taste, and the eggplant absorbs less oil and has a better texture. Smaller eggplants don’t need this step.
Our recipe features eggplant chops filled with mozzarella and ham, breaded and sauteed in olive oil, served with mashed potatoes. This recipe is also great on the grill–if grilling use a grill pan. This is a healthy and kid-friendly recipe and can be served as finger food at parties or for an afternoon snack. Just make some extras, pack them in zipper bags and freeze them for later.
Ingredients (yields about 8 servings):
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces lean ham (optional)
- 2 cups bread crumbs with dry basil
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease baking pan with olive oil.
- Wash eggplant and slice into 3/4 to 1 inch slices, then slice each piece crosswise in the middle, leaving it partly attached at one end (don’t cut all the way through); Place a slice of mozzarella and ham in the middle and close together.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs.
- Coat eggplant slices in flour, then dip one slice at a time into egg and finish coating in bread crumbs. Place coated eggplant onto prepared baking pan and spray the tops with olive oil.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn the slices over and continue to cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until both sides are brown and crisp.
- Serve hot with mashed potatoes, or cold as snack.