In Season: Eggplants tempting at summer peak

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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 12:00 am

Food on toast is one of my favorite things; for whatever reason, almost anything tastes better to me when it’s on or with a piece or two of crusty bread.

Dark, round eggplants at the market this weekend tempted me; they peak in the summer and most I saw at the Sunday Aksarben market were dark purple — the globe variety. Shoppers can also find Japanese eggplants this time of year, which have a milder flavor and a long, narrow shape.

Eggplant parmesan is the dish that most comes to my mind when I think of the vegetable, though it’s often heavy and soggy. This week’s recipe reinterprets that classic as a quick meal on crusty bread — I’ll use the end of my tomato crop to make a quick sauce instead of turning to store bought.

Recipe: Eggplant and Mozzarella Melt

• 2 large eggs

• Coarse salt and ground pepper

• ¾ cup plain dried breadcrumbs

• Olive oil, for baking sheet

• 1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds

• 1 loaf (8 ounces) soft Italian bread

• 2 cups store-bought tomato sauce

• 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat eggs with 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread breadcrumbs in a pie plate or shallow bowl.

Oil a rimmed baking sheet. Dip eggplant rounds in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs, turning to coat completely; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake (without turning) until golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, split bread lengthwise, and place cut side up on another baking sheet; press gently in centers to create a well. Layer both halves with tomato sauce, eggplant, and cheese. Bake until cheese is browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes.

— Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine

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