Crispy Native Eggplant With Basil, Sun Gold Tomatoes and Mozzarella

  • 8 Large Eggplant Slices-peeled, sliced 1/3” thick
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 4 Tbsp. Water
  • 2 Cups Japanese Panko Bread Crumbs-or substitute any favorite
  • 12 Basil Leaves-torn
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup Sun Gold Tomatoes-sliced in half
  • As Needed Canola for Frying
  • As Needed Kosher 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 15-60 minutes to soften. Thoroughly dry each slice with paper towels.

Mix together the eggs, flour and water until a pancake batter consistency. Adjust consistency as needed with more flour or water. Place the bread crumbs in a wide, shallow dish. Dip the eggplant in the batter first, let excess drip off and lay each slice in the bread crumbs, coating both sides

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add canola 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. Top the melted cheese with the sliced cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!

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