Eggplant Picatta

Chicken picatta has long been one of my favorite dishes, so when we embarked on the transition to a whole foods plant based (WFPB) diet, I had a moment of panic. No picatta?! How could I never enjoy that delicious lemon and caper sauce again?

That’s when it hit me – all I truly loved about chicken picatta was the sauce. Of course! I could easily make the sauce and ladle it over anything else, and still enjoy one of my favorite comfort dishes.

I chose breaded eggplant for my dish, and it works so well! The most important tip is to take the extra minute, and peel the eggplant. The general consensus, at least amongst all of our immediate family, is there is no easier way to ruin any type of eggplant dish than to leave the skin on! It doesn’t take long to do, but it really produces a much better meal, as the skin gets very tough after cooking, making it difficult to cut or bite through.

For all the strict WFPB/FOK followers out there, I confess that I still use oils and eat eggs, and so you will see I use these for my dredging and frying. Judge all you want, that’s OK! I don’t mind a bit! We all have our things, and we keep these two “cheats” to a minimum.

Ingredients:

For eggplant:

1 large eggplant

1.5 cups plain panko

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp garlic powder

Salt to taste

For sauce:

1 lemon

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tb capers

2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 tb flour

1 tb vegan butter

Directions:

For sauce:

  1. Cut lemon in half, squeeze all juice from one half and set aside. Thinly slice other half and set aside.
  2. Heat medium sauce pan on stovetop, add vegan butter and flour, whisk together. Add lemon juice, garlic, and capers and cook for about one minute.
  3. Add stock/water, and lemon slices. Reduce to low heat and allow to simmer.

For eggplant

  1. Peel your eggplant! Don’t skip this step, it takes only a minute and makes the dish so much better.
  2. Slice into 1/4-1/2″ rounds, and lay out on a clean towel, or paper towels, to remove the moisture. Let sit while you prepare your dredge.
  3. In a bowl, whisk eggs. In a large bowl, add the flour, and then begin coating the eggplant lightly in flour, and set the rounds aside.
  4. Add panko and seasonings to the flour, and mix well. Begin dipping eggplant into the egg, then into the panko mixture and coat well.
  5. Once you have coated all of the eggplant rounds, heat oil in a frying pan and begin frying up the eggplant. About 2-3 minutes each side. If you are baking, space evenly on a sheet pan and bake in the oven at 400, flipping half way through, until crispy and brown on each side.
  6. Sprinkle finished eggplant with a little salt and serve immediately, covered with your picatta sauce! Goes great with a fresh arugula salad, or layered with fresh tomato and beets, like a Napoleon.

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