Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eggplant Parmigiano Concept Dish

Welcome to Vegetarian Tuesday

If you are a regular reader of my work you know that I love playing with food. Deconstructing food is my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. Taking a dish that is well known and rethinking it. Today I wanted to work with eggplant parmesan.

This Italian classic is basically breaded and fried eggplant baked in a tomato sauce with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I wanted to keep the original components but apply different cooking methods to achieve a lighter finished product.

The star of the show is of course the eggplant. Here I made an eggplant confit which is slow cooked in olive oil and spices. The tomato component is in an oven-roasted beefsteak tomato topped with Italian breadcrumb, Parmigiano Reggiano, and fontina cheese.

Lastly, the base of the dish is sautéed Candy Cap mushrooms with shallots. I received some dried Candy Caps and Portuguese Flor de Sal sea salt from Marx Foods, a top notch gourmet online retail shop.

As you eat through the course hopefully you get the sense of eating eggplant parmesan, but in a much different and lighter package.

Eggplant Parmigiano Concept Dish

For the Eggplant Confit:
2 medium eggplants – (washed and cut into ½ inch thick slices)
½ cup olive oil
2 shallots – minced
2 tbs coriander seeds – crushed
½ tbs cane sugar
½ cup Riesling wine
2 sprigs savory
1 tsp Meyer lemon juice

In a braising pan, heat olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots, coriander seeds, sugar, and a pinch of Flor da sal. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooded spoon. Add the wine, lemon juice, and savory. Stir well. Add the eggplant slices. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Remove the eggplant to a wire rack to drain any excess oil.

For the Beefsteak Tomatoes:
Beefsteak tomatoes
Fontina cheese
Parmigiano Reggiano
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 F. Slice the tomatoes into ½ inch slices. Lay each slice on a sheet pan and season with sea salt, marjoram, and oregano.  Top with the Italian breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano and fontina cheese. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.

For the Candy Cap Mushrooms:
1 oz dried Candy cap mushrooms - reconstituted
Flor de Sal
White pepper
Unsalted butter
White wine vinegar

Put mushrooms in a non-reactive bowl. Pour boiling water to cover mushrooms. Allow to sit for 20 minutes until tender. Strain the mushrooms. Reserve the mushroom water for a nice flavorful stock base. Pat dry with paper towels. 

In a sauté pan, add 2 tbs unsalted butter and brown the mushrooms. Add the shallot and a dash of vinegar, cook for 1 minute. Season with flor de sal and white pepper.

For the Garnish:
Arugula leaves
Oak leaf
Edible flowers
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Lightlt season the arugula, oak leaf, and flowers with some olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

To Plate:

1. Center the candy cap mushroom saute in the center of the plate.
2. Top with the eggplant confit
3. Then the roasted tomato
4. Garnish with arugula and edible flowers
5. Swirl some olive oil on the plate

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Very pretty! I love all the familiar favors, but every dish needs a makeover once in a while.

  2. It's stunning! What a nice way to really play up the eggplant! Very nice job!

  3. this looks amazing- I dated an Italian guy in high school- He was one of four boys so his mother was so excited to teach me how to cook when I asked- I still use her recipe for eggplant parm- and it is my go to dish when we have veggies come over for dinner.

    Your presentation of dishes puts me to shame- Makes me think I need to try HARDER.

    Lovely- Hope you are having a great week.

  4. WOW! This sounds so delicious and I love the presentation~beautiful!

  5. That looks delectable! And I love the presentation too.

  6. That's a new look of Parmesan eggplant! I like how you plate it so beautifully!

    Candy caps mushroom sounds appetizing. Beautiful dish!

  7. Fabulous! You are so very creative! Love eggplant and this sounds delicious!

  8. Oh Lazarito, this is so pretty. I always make eggplant, and it is delicious. It never looks like that though (smile). The edible flowers are a very nice touch. Hmm, maybe I need to do more 'deconstruction'-will be thinking on this today (smile)...

  9. What a cool idea! And a fantastic way to enjoy this dish without all of the heaviness usually associated with it - which is fine for winter, but I want lighter things right now. Perfecto!

  10. wow lazaro! You can come to my place for dinner, if I can come to yours! That's impressive!

  11. I love playing with my food too. :) This is absolutely beautiful and such a fun version of eggplant parm!

  12. This is a beautiful and lighter presentation of one of my favorite dishes. Very interesting flavors as well.

  13. Beautiful dish- you had me at beefsteak tomatoes, my grandmother grew them in Texas, my first true love...

  14. Adore the presentation of the dish!! Fragrant and delightful :)



  15. What a beautiful presentation of a delicious dish. I love the oak leaf lettuce and the flowers, very nice touch!

  16. what a splendid presentation!! such a great mix of flavors...the corainder and lemon juice in the eggplant..wow
    another incredible reconstruction of a timeless classic!
    All the best

  17. love the way you plated it - such a dainty version of a heavy classic

  18. Lazaro...your culinary creativity certainly shines through on this mini-masterpiece. The ingredients certainly have come together to put a smile on anyone's tummy;o)
    Great recipe.
    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  19. Amazingly beautiful as always. Question. Where do you buy edible flowers? I see them on quite a few blogs, though I don't know where to get them.

  20. One of my favorite dishes of all time, but never have I had one as beautiful as that...bravo!!!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Although eggplant isn't my favorite, your version looks delicious. Mmm, I just so happen to have an eggplant in the fridge, waiting to be made into something fabulous!

  23. An amazing creation, Lazaro! I love the idea of eggplant confit and it sounds so terrific in combination with candy cap mushrooms! The presentation with edible flowers is just lovely!

  24. Almost painfully pretty - I might not be able to bring myself to eat something so beautifully put together!

    This is a plateful of my favourites, though I've never heard of candy caps before. I am running out of adjectives for your artistry Lazaro! Breathtaking as always!

  25. I love deconstruction and reconstruction! Honestly I am not a fan of eggplant parmigiana with fried eggplant and heavy breadcrumbs, but your creation is a sexier and definitely a much lighter version of the traditional one! I love all the layers and spices you used. Totally my kind of dish! Then of course if you're using flowers to top it all, what can I say? simply splendid...

  26. I always love you plate your food Lazaro! great recipe! Love the different layers of goodness.

  27. Love the idea of deconstructing a dish and reconstructing it... a very thought provoking post and very compelling flavours in each layer.

  28. What a beautiful presentation for a delicious dish!


Have Your Say!