Crispy Eggplant


Thirty minutes before you're ready to coat and bake the eggplant, you'll need to "salt" them. We generally place the slices on a large cutting board, salt, cover with a second cutting board and place a heavy weight on top. Let the eggplant sit, undisturbed, for 20 minutes. Remove the weight, and don't worry about the brownish liquid that has collected on the slices - that was the goal. Transfer the eggplant to a colander in the sink. Run cold water over the slices, making sure to rinse off all of the salt. Lay the slices on a double layer of paper towels. Blot to dry thoroughly.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 475°F. Top a jelly roll pan with either a Silpat, or parchment paper. Place the flour and breadcrumbs on separate sheets of waxed paper.

Add the eggs and pepper to a bowl, and beat with a fork to combine.

Coat each slice of eggplant as follows:    Gently press into the flour, flip and gently press again to coat both sides.
   Dip the slice in the egg and lightly coat both sides, shaking off any excess egg.
   Dip the slice into the panko, using your fingers to brush some crumbs on top, and
   gently press the eggplant so the crumbs stick.
   Place the fully-coated slice on the prepared baking sheet.

Drizzle the slices very lightly with olive oil. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden on both sides. Serve immediately.