1 eggplantpeeled and sliced thinly
3/4 cup Milk
1 1/2 cups marinara saucesugo pomodoro
6 slices provolone cheese
6 ounces provolone cheeseshredded
parmesan cheeseto taste
8 ounces Chicken Breast
3 heads fresh garlic
I have always known that salting eggplant and cucumbers was good practice for parmesan and cold salads, respectively. However, over the years, this simple but time consuming step went by the wayside most of the time, only to find its way tucked back into the recesses of my attention-deficient mind. Shameful, I must say.
Now a returned-staple in my repertoire, I can truly say that I will never cook eggplant parmesan any other way. When it’s good, it’s good.
The salt acts as a hygroscopic agent in that it draws moisture out of an environment, and when you follow this procedure religiously, it draws out “l’acqua dei mort” or the “water of the dead”, the juice which gives many an eggplant dish its bitter aftertaste. This simple step transcends bitter eggplant into a sublime morsel of goodness and flavor.
And once the eggplant is nailed, the sky is the limit. Think fresh basil, spinach, oven-dried Roma tomatoes and perhaps even freshly breaded and fried chicken breast.
To give this dish an absolutely stunning finish, accompany it with Sauce d’Ail Loiseau. Yes I know it is French and time consuming, but it is simple, and ironically simply the greatest garlic sauce I know. I just don’t know the Italian name for this puree.
It eats like whipped butter, and is pure genius in its preparation, reflective of its creator Bernard Loiseau, made famous by his minimalist approaches to cuisine at the height of the nouvelle cuisine scene in France in previous decades in the Burgundy countryside.
So make this dish, revel in its complex simplicity, and make sure that you accompany it with some pinot noir or chianti. The ‘I-go-with- everything’ notions of pinot noir naturally accompany this layered dish, and the spicy nature of chianti faces off well with the sweet-tooth of your finished work.
Finish the dish with some oven-dried Romas and remember just how beautiful something so simple can be.
Eggplant & Chicken Parmesan
- Sprinkle the salt on the eggplant slices spread evenly on a pan
- Let them sit until you notice a good number of beads of water on the surface of the eggplant
- Rinse very well in cold water to remove the dead-person water and salt
- Pat slightly dry and set aside until ready to go
- Heat ¾ inch vegetable oil in a frypan and when ready, dust the eggplant in seasoned flour, dip in the egg wash, and fry for 2 minutes
- Flip and cook for 1 more minute and remove to paper towels to drain
- When all of the eggplant is done, layer with provolone cheese, mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, interspersed with marinara or pasta sauce of your choice
- Bake at 450F until hot and bubbly and the cheese is browning slightly
- Use the same flour and eggwash as the eggplant, but after the eggwash, dip the chicken in breadcrumbs before frying. This gives a crusty exterior
- Use this as integral layers in the dish, or as a garnish-layer on the top only
Sauce d’Ail Loiseau
- This is simple but pure genius in its simplicity
- Peel the garlic and place in a saucepan with cold water to cover the cloves by 7.6 mm (3 inches) or so
- Bring to a boil and after one minute, drain and cover again with cold water
- After a total of five ‘simmers’ in fresh water, puree the garlic with nothing more than a touch of water and some sea salt. You will be amazed at how ridiculous this is. To me, it is the ultimate translation of Mother Nature’s magic