Breaded Eggplant and Polenta Parmesan

Everyone should have a go to meal that does not take a lot of work to make but is reliable every single time.  Usually it doesn’t include fresh produce, I like to keep certain things stocked that I know I can make when I run out of fresh produce but haven’t gone to the grocery store.  For some its frozen meals, for others is mac n cheese, for me its sliced polenta.  About a year ago I discovered this polenta at Trader Joes and have been buying it ever since.  Slice it up, pop it into the oven and throw some marinara over it and thats a meal!

Now eggplant can be a tricky beast, its weird looking and has a weird looking inside too.  The first couple times I used eggplant I didn’t cook it long enough and was thoroughly disappointed.  However, now I have come to learn the best ways to cook eggplant, and sliced, breaded and pan fried is by far the best method.  The trick though, is to crisp it up in a pan with a little olive oil but then after its golden brown on both sides, you put it into the oven to finish cooking.  If you tried to keep it on the stove until it was cooked the breadcrumbs would be a charred mess.  The same goes for breaded chicken, if the chicken is really thick it takes much longer to cook through than to nicely brown the outside.

Breaded Eggplant 

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 eggplant, sliced evenly
  • about 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • about 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3-4 tbl olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe

  1. Set up a breading station.  Place the flour on a plate with salt and pepper, then place the beaten eggs in a shallow bowl, then finally the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish (pie dishes work great for this)
  2. Take the sliced eggplant and for each slice, coat each side in flour first and shake off any excess, then dip into the egg and let the excess run off, then place in the breadcrumbs and lightly press the breadcrumbs onto each side of the eggplant slice and shake off any excess.  Place to the side and continue with the rest of the slices
  3. If you need more flour or breadcrumbs simply add more and continue.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  5. Heat 1 tbl olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat, when hot add 2-3 eggplant slices depending on the size of the pan, when the first side is starting to brown, flip and brown the other side. About 5 min on each side.
  6. Continue browning the rest of the slices.  When done, place them all on a baking sheet and place in oven to continue cooking for about 30 min.  (the eggplant should be fork tender and easy to slice with the side of a fork)

Crispy Polenta

Ingredients

  • 1 tube polenta
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2-3 tbl olive oil

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Slice the polenta evenly
  3. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, brush with olive oil.
  4. Bake for about 15 min, flip the slices and continue baking for another 15-20 min or until the outside is firm.

* Feel free to eat the polenta plain, with marinara, with pesto, with eggplant etc.

{Breading Station}

{After oven time}

{Sliced polenta tube}

{Finished plate, with a side of balsamic green beans}

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