Grog and Vittles

Food and Spirits by an Vegetarian in Atlanta

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Eggplant Parm, Sauteed Lemon and Herb Musrooms, and Chopped Broccoli with Lemon

Today, we're going to make a friend of ours cry. She's not coming tonight because she has family in town

We've got few enough people here to make eggplant parmesan. The reason this is a person limited dish is that you have to fry all the little bits of individually breaded eggplant, and that's after you've already individually breaded them. Breading and bit frying takes time.

We again steal Alton Brown's recipe for this dish. That's because its delicious, and has such a phenomenal texture, I've served this to about a dozen people who "hate eggplant" and all had a second helping. It comes out of his I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking.

To make this dish, you chunk up as much eggplant as you'd like to eat. I suggest more than you think. This is very tasty, and I always lament when we finish off the last microwave dish of it. Then you bread it in the following admixture:

Flour Coat: Flour + Fresh Ground Pepper
Egg Coat: Eggs + Water
Crumb Coat: Grated Parm+Panko Bread Crumbs

To Properly Bread Anything:


Take a Crayola washable marker. Write W on the back of one hand, and D on the back of the other. Pretend the wet hand (the one with a W), will be burnt by anything powdery (i.e. Any Flour or Breadcrumbs, or things coated with such). Pretend the dry hand will be melted off as if dipped in acid if it touches anything wet (i.e. eggs, things just coming out of the eggs batter, or the unfloured eggplant). You don't really need to write on your hands, or be so melodramatic, but you do need to be this careful, otherwise you're hands will become a pile of breaded glop that doesn't really work very well. I usually use my right hand as my W hand and my left as my D.

Setup your counter, left to right, in the following order:

Bowl of stuff to be breaded
Bowl of seasoned flour
Bowl of watery eggs
Bowl of "breading" (panko and parm for us)
Cookie drying rack as a catch tray

Take your wet hand. Pick up a piece of eggplant. Drop (from a short distance) into the flour.

Take your dry hand. Pick up a small amount of flour from the bowl. Drop it all over the piece like a TV chef or a character in a movie about the desert who's playing with sand to make a point about the endlessness of time. Using your dry hand, take the now (overly) coated piece and shake off and tap off on the side of the bowl as much flour as you can. Now drop (from a short distance) said piece of flour coated goodness into the egg mixture, being careful not to melt off your dry hand by touching it to the liquid.

Take your wet hand and fully coat the piece by moving the eggs over the piece (remember the still powdery parts will burn you). With your wet hand, now pick up the piece that is fully coated and drop it from a short distance into the bread crumbs.

Take your dry hand, and fully coat the piece with the breading mixture using the movie character dropping sand method. Once fully coated, move to the side of the breading bowl. Leave this here for a couple minutes. I usually move them out of this bowl (with my dry hand) right after I've just finished breading the piece after it. You're moving the freshly breaded piece from the breading bowl bowl to the cookie cooling rack.

To make the eggplant parm, we do the above with half moons of peeled eggplants that are all about the same size. We then deep fry all the little bits until golden brown. We then put a layer of them down into a casserole dish, along with some marinara sauce, then a layer of provolone slices, then another layer of tasty bits, then more marinara, then more provolone, then you get the picture, until the dish is full. We top it off with marinara and a little more grated (or shredded) parm on top.

Chopped Broc (From Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone)


Lemon(s)
Broccoli (or Broccoli Florets)
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (should be green).

Turn broccoli into florets if it isn't already. Stick in one of those steamer things that cost $5 at the grocery store and look like UFOs. Put the steamer thing in a shallow pot of boiling water (as per steamer directions). Steam until it is what you'd call al dente if it was pasta. Without cooling it down, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Mushroom Magic (From Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone)


Mushrooms (Assorted types, mostly a common type)
Garlic
Flat Leaf Parsley
Butter
Lemon
Pepper
Salt

Put butter in pan. Melt. Put mushrooms in pan. Cook until liquid comes out then goes back in them, folding and stirring. Do the butter/mushroom thing in two batches if you have a lot of mushrooms. Put garlic in the pan, stir briefly, until garlic just starts to brown. Squeeze lemon into pan, mix with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Cover in bits of freshly chopped fresh parsley.

--Michael

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