Sunday, November 8, 2015

Eggplant Parm Sub!








     A Classic Italian Hot Sub!
     Eggplant Parm Sub are a popular pizzeria offering.  A big Eggplant Parm Sub is initially heavy on the tummy, but because it is a vegetable sub, that heavy feeling goes away quickly.  An Eggplant Parm Sub actually is a very satisfying healthy sandwich!

     How the eggplant is cooked makes a difference when making an Eggplant Parm Sub.  The classic preparation involves coating thin slices of eggplant with egg batter, then pan frying each slice till it is a golden color.
     Salting sliced eggplant is an age old technique.  Salting eggplant slices not only draws out the excess moisture, it helps to preserve the light color.
     The egg batter eggplant slices can be pan fried ahead of time, then chilled until they are needed.  There is a limit to how far ahead of time the eggplant can be prepared.  After about 4 hours, the prepared batter fried eggplant will start to degrade and turn a grayish brown color.  Old mushy gray color fried eggplant is never a good thing.

     During the last three decades, chefs have been adding Parmigiana Cheese to egg wash.  Supposedly the Parmigiana Cheese makes the egg wash stick to the food when it is fried.  In reality, if the egg wash does not stick to fried food, then there is something wrong with the chefs breading or egg washing technique!
     Using Parmigiana like glue is not exactly a brilliant idea.  There are three good reasons why fine grated Parmigiana should not be added to an egg wash.  First of all, adding fine grated Parmigiana Cheese to egg wash is a tremendous waste of money!  Imported Parmigiana Cheese is expensive and even the Domestic American Parmesan version is not cheap.
     Secondly, when Parmigiana Cheese is cooked at a high temperature, like when frying, the cheese browns and it becomes bitter tasting.  This is especially true for fried breaded food items, like fried shrimp.
     The third reason involves food allergens.  A fair percentage of the dining public is allergic to all dairy products.  A waiter might not realize that Parmigiana Cheese was added to the egg wash and when a sale is made, the restaurant will be liable for all consequences if a customer that has dairy product allergies becomes ill.  Deceptively serving dairy products in items that traditionally contain no dairy products can lead to serious liable suit issues.
     I never add fine grated Parmigiana Cheese to an egg wash.  Both the egg washed items and breaded items turn out perfect when no Parmigiana is added.  Once again, it simply comes down to how good a chef's egg washing technique or breading method is!

     Salsa di Pomodoro:  
     Follow this link to the recipe in this website:
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Egg Batter Pan Fried Eggplant:
     Depending on the size of the eggplant, this recipe will yield enough for at least 1 sub sandwich.
     Step 1:  Peel 1 medium size eggplant with a knife.
     Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3/16" thick slices.  (About 6 to 8 slices of eggplant are needed for 1 sub sandwich.)
     Step 2:  Lay the eggplant slices side by side on a sheet pan.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt on both sides of each eggplant slice.
     *The salt will cause the eggplant to sweat out excess moisture.  The salt will also rid of some of the bitter flavor, while preserving the pale color of the eggplant!
     Let the eggplant slices sweat for 20 minutes.
     Step 3:  Rinse each eggplant slice under cold running water.
     Pat the eggplant slices dry with a lint free pastry towel.
     Step 4:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 5:  Dredge each eggplant slice in flour.
     Place the floured eggplant slices in the egg wash and set the bowl aside.
     Step 6:  Heat a wide sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium/medium high heat.
     Add enough blended olive oil, so the oil is about 3/4" deep in the pan.
     Adjust the temperature of the oil to 360ºF.
     Step 7:  Pull 1 slice of eggplant out of the egg wash and knock off any excess egg wash by dragging each eggplant slice against the rim of the mixing bowl.
     Place the egg batter coated eggplant in the hot oil.
     Pan fry a few egg washed eggplant slices at a time, till they are a light golden brown color on both sides.  Try to only flip each slice one time.
     Step 8:  Place the fried slices of eggplant on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the fried eggplant warm on a stove top.

     Eggplant Parm Sub:
     This recipe yields 1 sub sandwich.
     Step 1:  Split an Italian sub sandwich roll open on one side, but do not cut all the way through the bread.
     Spread a little bit of the tomato sauce on the sub roll.
     Loosely fold each slice of fried eggplant in half.
     Overlap the folded eggplant slices on the sub roll.
     Spoon a generous amount of the tomato sauce over the eggplant slices.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of grated mozzarella cheese over the tomato sauce and eggplant.
     Step 2:  Place the sandwich on a baking pan.
     Bake the sandwich in a 400ºF oven.
     Bake till the cheese melts and the sub roll is lightly toasted.  (Do not brown the cheese or it will taste bitter!)
     Step 3:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of finely grated Parmigiana Cheese on the sandwich.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of oregano on the sandwich.
     Step 4:  Set the Eggplant Parm Sub on a plate.
     Garnish with Italian Parsley sprigs and pickles or giardiniera.

     The flavor of a good Eggplant Parm Sub is satisfying beyond belief!

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