“The humorous factor about eggplant is that the individuals who find it irresistible, actually find it irresistible.” So says Tony DiSilvestro, proprietor of Ynot Pizza, a three-unit operation based mostly in Virginia Seashore, Virginia. From Ynot Pizza’s eggplant specialty pizza, eggplant rollatini and naturally, eggplant Parmesan menued in each entrée and scorching sub kind DiSilvestro sells an excellent quantity of eggplant. Whereas he admits all of his eggplant gadgets promote effectively, nothing compares to the eggplant Parmesan. The $9.99 entrée is constructed by topping skinny slices of breaded and fried skin-on eggplant with housemade marinara sauce and mozzarella.
It has an estimated meals price of 19 %. It ought to come as no shock that eggplant Parmesan continues to reign over vegetarian menu gadgets. In any case, diners could be hard-pressed, and most probably disillusioned, to not discover this consolation meals basic on menus. Originating from Southern Italy, eggplant Parmesan historically requires both fried or breaded and fried skinny slices of eggplant blanketed in marinara and mozzarella that’s then baked till the cheese melts and browns. The dish offers a win-win for operators and diners. Operators like its ease to organize and low meals price (eggplant offers 100-percent yield), whereas diners take pleasure in its comfort-food issue.
Simply because a menu merchandise is a basic doesn’t imply it isn’t due for an replace. Some operators execute the dish with a extra fashionable method. For instance, as a substitute of breading and deep-frying eggplant, Silvio Medoro, proprietor of Silvio’s Natural Pizza in Ann Arbor, Michigan, seasons eggplant slices with oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and grills it. Then he layers three to 4 rows of eggplant in a baking dish between housemade tomato sauce and a combination of eggs, romano, mozzarella and Parmesan. This bakes in a 500 F oven for one hour and sells for $12.50. “We attempt to be more healthy, and our diners admire it,” says Medoro, who incorporates natural elements resembling olive oil, fl our, herbs, greens, eggs and mozzarella into all of his dishes.
It’s not an choice to take away the eggplant Parmesan ($10.50) from the menu of the New Berlin, New York based mostly, New York Pizzeria, says Frank Baio, who co-owns the restaurant together with his spouse Betsey. The dish runs a 200-percent revenue margin.
To organize, Baio cuts spherical slices of eggplant a half-inch thick. Then he salts it and lets it sit a minimal of 40 minutes. Salting is a very powerful step when working with eggplant, says Baio, because it removes the eggplant’s bitterness.
He rinses the eggplant in chilly water, pats it dry and dips it right into a batter of heavy cream and eggs, then dredges it in toasted house-made breadcrumbs. He fries the eggplant in extra-virgin olive oil, then locations it in a baking dish the place it’s topped with house-made marinara and mozzarella. After baking, it arrives with a aspect of pasta. Baio estimates the dish’s meals price is 30 %, with eggplant costing $20 to $25 a case.
Baio additional capitalized on his eggplant Parmesan’s success by introducing two eggplant dishes. Eggplant rollatini with spaghetti showcases lengthwise slices of fried eggplant wrapped round candy ricotta cheese and spaghetti. Whereas vacationing in Sicily for his mom’s eightieth birthday, Baio was impressed by a dish his sister, Rosa, ready. The Zia Rosa Eggplant resulted. It shows layers of eggplant, tomato sauce, breadcrumbs, toasted pine nuts, raisins and Italian Provolone. Baio plans so as to add this particular to the menu completely within the spring. “All of our eggplant dishes are fairly good sellers,” he says. “It’s as a result of diners are into wholesome meals. Many purchasers motive that despite the fact that the eggplant is fried, it’s nonetheless considerably wholesome.”
The most important problem to making ready eggplant Parmesan and different eggplant dishes isn’t the approach, however the eggplant. Earlier than starting any eggplant dish, verify to make sure that the eggplant just isn’t bruised, scratched or discolored. “Ensure that the eggplant is difficult on the it, use your judgment. In the event you see brown seeds inside, it’s not value utilizing,” Baio says. Larger doesn’t at all times imply higher. Baio recommends selecting medium-sized eggplants. Keep in mind eggplant turns into bitter with age, so use shortly. DiSilvestro alleviates his eggplant consistency points by buying frozen, sliced and breaded, skin-on eggplant. “Unquestionably, going with a frozen product is a big labor and time saver,” he says. “The frozen product works effectively. It’s sliced good and skinny. Generally once you make the product recent, the breading comes off. This product’s breading by no means comes off.” Another excuse why operators take pleasure in serving eggplant Parmesan, in all its incarnations: it provides diners extra selections. “It’s good to have number of vegetarian gadgets on the menu,” DiSilvestro says. ?
Yield: 6 servings
1 massive eggplant, about 1½ kilos
Salt, as wanted
2 eggs, crushed
1½ cups effective, dry bread crumbs blended with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon floor black pepper
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
½ teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
16 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Wash eggplant and minimize crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Salt eggplant and let sit for 40 minutes. Rinse eggplant in chilly water and pat dry.
Dip eggplant into crushed eggs then dredge with seasoned breadcrumbs.
Place slices on a plate and chill for 30 to 45 minutes.
Warmth about 1?8-inch of oil in a heavy skillet. Fry eggplant on either side till golden brown and crispy. Drain effectively on paper towels.
In a saucepan, warmth tomato sauce, basil and oregano. Unfold 1?3 of the sauce in a greased 12 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. Layer half of the eggplant, half of the mozzarella, one other 1?3 of the sauce, and half the Parmesan. Repeat layers. Bake at 350 F for half-hour, or till scorching and bubbly.
Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman is a contract author in Louisville, Kentucky. She covers meals, enterprise and liefestyle developments.