Eggplant Nuggets and Heirloom Tomato Sauce

16 08 2009
Eggplant Nuggets

Eggplant Nuggets

This is one of those recipes that I had a picture in my mind that was beautiful and the execution just didn’t quite make it for a few reasons.  I had originally envisioned breading and baking the eggplant slices with panko bread crumbs but the night I finally decided to make it I invited a friend over who doesn’t do wheat.  So instead we used corn flour and crushed up sesame corn tortilla chips to bread them.  Secondly, I envisioned an heirloom tomato salad on top akin to the panzanella we made a few weeks ago.  Big chunks of tomato with a nice gentle sauce on them served over top of eggplant nuggets (named for the chicken nuggets resemblance!) Well the tomatoes didn’t pan out because I waited to long to cook them and they were more tender and very ripe than I had anticipated.  Although, after I cut them and started saucing them I finally noticed they would have been alright the first time. Oh well.

So I have my vision and turned to the internet for a bit of direction because honestly, me and eggplant aren’t the best friends at home. I don’t think I’ve ever successfully cooked eggplant. I feel like it has a 5 seconds window of done-ness where it goes from not cooked enough to entirely overcooked to mush.  Maybe it is just me but I enjoy eggplant so I’m always willing to give things a go! I found this website with directions I ended up using for the eggplant. Than I turned to ask the internet for some ideas for the tomatoes and came up with this post for simple summer heirloom tomato sauce, all things I had or wanted so I used it as a template.

The eggplant was easy to do and turned out pretty good.  The corn chips were a bit on the big side and maybe added to much flavor, overpowering the eggplant a bit.  But the eggplant was cooked to perfection and they certainly looked like nuggets! Which really was the goal of this dish.

The sauce was also very good but I ran amok a bit of the guide.  It wasn’t in recipe form and I had read it before and misremembered it a bit.  I remember it saying just cut the tomatoes up, hang a branch of basil into it and boil down. EASY! Evidently there were a few more things to it like saute some garlic in the bottom of the pan. Actually  a LOT of it.  And add some olive oil and I don’t remember what else.  Well I didn’t do any garlic, and added the olive oil at the end and it wasn’t terrible.  I certainly think garlic would have added to it but heirlooms have so much flavor on their own it actually worked even more basic than the guide’s version of basic. 

Put them together though and they were good. The eggplant tasted great with the heirloom sauce.  My only disappoint was my vision was far from standard eggplant parmesan served with red sauce but my execution was closer than I had hoped for. All in all though a good meal!

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