29 Aug Olivia Andrews’ fit-for-an-army Eggplant parmi
Fit-for-an-army Eggplant parmi (Serves 4, just under 3 serves of vegs per serve)
What is it about crumbed steaks? Or crumbed anything? They say that texture, and in this case crunch, is more important than taste — so if you’re trying to come around to the idea of eggplant, here’s a great place to start: crunchy on the outside, and pillowy soft inside. Eggplant usually sucks up a load of oil during frying, so another brilliant thing about this recipe is that the eggplant is baked, for a healthier result.
2 eggplants (aubergines), preferably wider ones, rather than taller skinny ones, for a better ‘steak’ shape
4 tablespoons wholemeal plain flour
2 cups (125 g) fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)
4 tablespoons extra virgin oil
1 tablespoon baby capers, patted dry with paper towel (optional)
400 ml (14 fl oz) Roasted tomato passata (page 207), or store-bought tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
100 g (3½ oz) English spinach, washed well, finely shredded
⅓ cup (60 g) pitted green olives, halved (optional)
4 balls of bocconcini cheese, flattened slightly (to help them melt through quickly)
rocket (arugula) leaves, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Remove 2 cm (¾ inch) from the opposite ‘cheeks’ of each eggplant, then cut each eggplant in half lengthways to make two ‘steaks’. Cut the sliced eggplant cheeks into 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) chunks and set aside.
Whisk the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Put the flour in another bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. In another wide shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, rosemary and parmesan, if using, then rub in 3 tablespoons of the oil with your fingertips until it coats the breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Dust each cut side of the eggplant steaks with flour, leaving the skin uncoated. Shake off any excess flour, then dip each cut side into the egg, leaving the skin uncoated, and then into the breadcrumb mixture until well coated.
Place the ‘schnitzels’ on the baking tray, narrower side facing up. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a wide deep frying pan
over medium–high heat. Add the chopped eggplant cheeks, and the capers if using, and cook for 3 minutes, or until lightly golden. Reduce the heat to medium, stir in the passata and bring to a simmer. Add the spinach and olives, if using. Stir occasionally for 2 minutes, or until the spinach wilts; keep warm over low heat.
Just before serving, add the bocconcini to the pan of passata, leaving enough space in between each one to allow for easier removal. Warm through for about 1 minute, or until the cheese has just melted.
Place an eggplant parmigiana on each serving plate, then spoon each bocconcini mound over the centre. Spoon over the sauce and serve immediately, with rocket leaves, if desired.
- Over 1 serve whole grain per serve
- Almost 50% RDI calcium per serve
- Very high in fibre (eggplant)
- Great source of vitamin A
To make the dish dairy free, omit the parmesan and bocconcini.
For gluten-free parmigiana, use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs.
Olivia Andrews is the culinary director for the meal kit delivery service Marley Spoon in Australia and is an ambassador for Nutritician Australia’s Tryfor5 campaign, She is the author of internationally best-selling books Whole Food Slow Cooked and Healthy Thermo Cooking For Busy families.
Look for Three Veg and Meat by Olivia Andrews Published by Murdoch Books (RRP 39.99)