8 Large Eggplant Slices-peeled, sliced 1/3” thick
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs-beaten with 4 Tbsp. Water
2 Cups Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs-or substitute any favorite breadcrumbs
12 Basil Leaves-torn
1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes-sliced in half
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
As Needed Olive Oil or Canola for Frying
As Needed Salt and Black Pepper
Lay the eggplant slices on a wire rack and sprinkle both sides generously with salt to remove excess water and promote less absorption of oil when cooking. Let sit for 30-60 minutes to soften. Thoroughly dry each slice with paper towels.
Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, shaking off excess, then dip each in the egg mixture, letting excess drip off, then press each in the bread crumbs, coating both sides thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 400°f. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add olive oil so that it is about 1/3 of the height of the breaded eggplant slices. The eggplant can be added when a few bread crumbs tossed into the oil sizzles moderately. Lay eggplant in and cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until golden. Flip over and repeat. Drain on a rack. Place the rack on a baking sheet for going into the oven.
Arrange two large slices of eggplant slightly overlapping each other for each serving. Top each portion with the torn basil leaves and then with the mozzarella. Place in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden. In a bowl, combine the cherry tomatoes with the ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper if desired. Present the eggplant on a serving plate and top with the fresh cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!