Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Supper: Fried Eggplant and 3-minute Swiss Egg Tapas

Cayenne & Carob's Sunday Supper: Fried Eggplant and 3-minute Swiss Egg Tapas
I had no idea what I was going to make for sunday supper and relied on finding something beautiful and tasty at the La Jolla Farmer's Market. It was the eggplant that spoke to me and later caused me to take every cookbook down off the kitchen shelf to find the perfect, easy recipe. I indeed found a great recipe!

Fried Eggplant and 3-minute Swiss Egg Tapas
By Cayenne and inspired by Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Egg Recipe from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas

1 eggplant, slice four 1/4-inch slices (for 2 people)
coarse salt
white flour for frying eggplant
sunflower oil for frying
2 soft- or hard-boiled eggs
4 garlic cloves
1 onion
handful of cremini, brown, button mushrooms
1 orange bell pepper
handful of fresh parsley
pinch of dried thyme
Eggplant: First slice the eggplant and sprinkle with salt and let sit in colander for 30 minutes (water will seep out). Wrap uncut eggplant in plastic wrap and save for later in the week.

3-minute Swiss Egg: Bring water to a roaring boil, add salt, and gently drop fresh eggs into water. Turn your timer to 3 minutes or if you have my timer 5 minutes. Remove eggs from water and set in a bowl to cool.
Sauteed onions and vegetables: I was very liberal in altering the recipe to use what I already had in my fridge. I actually make this dish again later in the week for another friend and switched things to make it more of a main dish.

If you are making an appetizer just saute the onion for a few minutes and add the orange pepper. When the onion is almost done, add the garlic and mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are nice and shriveled turn off the heat and add the thyme and parsley.

If you are making this as a main dish beef it up by adding Israeli couscous mix from TJ's which I started right after I had the eggplant draining. The mix cooks in about 10 minutes and you can time it to finish at the same time as the eggs. For even more sustenance I sauteed sliced fingerling potatoes and a few leaves of sliced swiss chard with the veggies and onions.

Frying the Eggplant: Set your eggplant slices on a clean towel and blot dry. Heat up about 1/2 to 3/4 inches of oil (I used sunflower oil) until it pops when you flick a bit of water in it (like one drop of water). Place the eggplant on a plate and sift flour over it, turn over and do the same thing to the other side. Gently tap excess flour off and place in hot oil. Fry approximately 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels as you continue frying the rest of the eggplant.

Plating: Start by layering the eggplant slices on your plate and sprinkling with salt. Pile on the veggies and top with the 3-minute Swiss egg. Enjoy immediately.

I really loved this dish and I have to fess up to hating eggplant before this most recent Sunday Supper (seeing a theme here). It was easy, took less than an hour to make, and has a stunning presentation. One of the most important elements is the 3-minute Swiss egg. The recipe called for a hard boiled egg. Due to a fluke of not remembering how to cook a hard boilded egg and the fortuitous advice of my friend who was visiting (yes, she lives in Switzerland) - the 3-minute Swiss found its way to the top of my fried eggplant. The egg white was a touch runny so I made the decision on my second run-through to cook it 1 minute longer. Bad. Idea. Keep the 3-minute Swiss egg because it really makes this dish.

photo credit: Cayenne 08.23.09

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