Eggplant Delights, by Eyal Streett
These are great as appetizers or snacks. I got the idea not so long ago while I was staying for a while in Aix en Provence. Seeing those eggplants all over the markets, next to that wonderful basil… Then I saw the sesame. Suddenly it all made sense. Thanks for the inspiration, wonderful Provence!
I’m adding an alternative with squash, it’s faster to prepare with squash but not as exciting, if you ask me.
So we’ve got eggplants or aubergines and we’ve got squash, zucchini, courgette or marrow. I know there must be at least some slight differences between an eggplant and an aubergine, but my mouth loves them both! and hopefully yours too.
Anyhow, enough talking. Let’s cook!
2-3 nice eggplants (or 3-4 medium squashes)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1/2 cup flour
1 mozzarella di buffala (tennis ball size. You should have 2 packages available, just in case)
150 grams sesame seeds (non roasted)
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves
Spicy dip: 1 fresh chili pepper, 10 fresh basil leaves, and a pinch of salt
- Wash your eggplants (squashes). Cut off the edges. Slice the eggplants about 1/2 cm thick.
(The washed eggplants)
Only if you are making eggplant: salt the slices from both sides and leave them in a strainer for at least 1 hour (make sure you’ve got a plate under the strainer for the eggplant juices).
(Salted eggplant slices)
It’s unnecessary to salt and drain the squashes. Skip to stage #3.
- 1 hour later:
Wash the slices well under running water. Once they’re all rinsed take 4 slices at a time and squeeze them over the sink. Lots of liquids will come out. Gently ley your slices on paper towels.
(Top: the squeezed eggplant slices / Bottom: the sliced squash)
- Pour a generous amount of oil in a heavy frying pan. Set the fire to medium-high. Add the whole garlic clove to the oil. Once the oil is hot gently add your slices to the pan. We’re going to double fry, so this is just the first frying. Therefore we want our slices nicely browned but not 100% ready to eat. Keep them for a few minutes on one side and then turn them over. Meanwhile prepare a large bowl with the flour.
(Eggplants after the 1st fry)
- Once you’ve got nicely tanned slices, take them out of the fire and back onto some new paper towels. Meanwhile put a new batch of slices in the pan. Once the fried slices have cooled down a bit dip them in the flour. Shake them around a bit and put them back on paper towels. Keep on doing this until all of your slices are fried and floured.
(Eggplants into the flour, both sides)
- Let’s make the dip. You could skip this if you’re not a big dip fan but they will make your delights even better tasting. Chop up your fresh chili pepper and the basil leaves (a hand blender or small food processor should do the job, but you could do it with a knife as well). Add a pinch of salt and a few drops of olive oil. Mix around. Your dip is ready.
- OK, so now we’re going to make our little sandwiches and then we’re going to get a bit dirty with our hands.
First of all slice your mozzarella and make sure your basil is clean. Mix the mozzarella and basil together (you can tear the big leaves). Next put your eggplant slices in pairs that are more or less the same size. Take 2 slices and put in between the mozzarella and basil. Repeat with the rest of your eggplant.
(Sesame seeds, the egg mixture and sliced mozzarella and basil)
(The sandwich: 2 eggplant slices with the cheese and basil in between)
- Take 2 eggs and break them in a bowl. Then add to the same bowl 2 more yolks from the other 2 eggs (We won’t need these other 2 egg whites for this recipe). Add to the bowl the minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Lightly mix the eggs around, not for too long. Prepare another bowl with the sesame seeds
- Now we’re ready to fry our delights. Check your oil level in the pan, if you’re missing oil add some. Reheat the pan and once the oil is hot set your fire to medium.
Take one of your small “sandwiches”, dip it in the egg mixture and then in the sesame seeds. Gently let it in the pan. Repeat until you have no more space in the frying pan. Turn your delights over after about 2 minutes and let them fry for another couple of minutes on the other side (until the sesame seeds are nicely tanned). Put your delights on paper towels.
Eggplant (top) and squash (right) ready for the final fry.
- That’s it! Your eggplant delights are ready. Serve them with the dip, sit down, relax and have a nice snack. By the way, they’re great warm, but they’re not bad when they’re cool, so you can eat the left overs just like that, no need to reheat.
(Eggplant and squash delights, served with the special basil dip and some fried garlic cloves. Mmmmmmmm…)
Hope you enjoy these! Hope to see you next time. Keep on cooking!