Sunday, April 18, 2010

Eggplant Parmesan Reconstructed

Eggplant Balancing Act

After feeling stressed for the last couple of weeks, a lot has been taken off my plate and I'm ready to get back into the kitchen. To challenge myself, I undertook this recipe from Gourmet Magazine in which eggplant parmesan has been reconstructed. I was originally going to call this deconstructed, but I don't feel it is anywhere near as fancy as the haute cuisine versions. So it is reconstructed, giving it interesting characters along the way.

Eggplant Parmesan Reconstructed

The one issue with this recipe is that it is quite long. But all the work is worth it. Since I posted the link for the recipe, I will only give a quick summary. The stack is constructed with these ingredients:
1. Egg patty base - made from eggs, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and parsley
2. Oniony tomato sauce
3. Slice of fresh mozzarella
4. Slice of roasted eggplant
5. Tomato sauce
6. Eggplant
7. Sauteed arugula and basil
8. Eggplant
9. Tomato sauce on the side

My favorite part of this recipe is that you put the entire stack into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Each portion of the stack brings its own flavors to the stack. The egg patty is fluffy in nature with some cheesy saltiness and acts as a stable base. The eggplant is soft and slightly caramelized. The tomato sauce is garlicky and robust. The arugula packs a green bite. And the cheese adds lovely decadence. Don't expect the ingredients to remained as an Italian totem pole as you it them, but the messy end allows you to combine the various ingredients differently in each bite. If you're willing to undertake the effort, this creation can be both artistically and gustatorially pleasing.

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