Sunday, June 3, 2012
Eggplant Saltimbocca over Ratatouille
Where did you get this recipe? Connie'd watched me dirty almost every pan in the kitchen while I made dinner. Now, we were on the screened porch with a table glowing with candlelight finally getting an opportunity to relax. It'd been a long week. Mom's finally moved to her new apartment at Hoosier Village. She's in the independent living area. My grandmother, her two sisters and my father were all at Hoosier Village. Actually, Aunt Alice was one of the first residents. She was a neat lady. Early on she started going blind and was taken out of school. She always regretted that. One of my most prized possessions is her old table. It sat next to her chair. She kept her record player there - the one she used to play books on record. The scratches are still there from her pulling the record player out to change the record.
Ah, I digress. I'd not planned dinner. The refrigerator downstairs yielded an eggplant that needed to be used up. Connie'd like eggplant involtini. I'd like my mom's eggplant casserole - which is very similar to ratatouille. With the eggplant casserole it'd be easy to make pork saltimbocca. We had gorgeous sage leaves. They're like so much green velvet in the herb garden. Well, now, that's when my brain started in... What if I made eggplant saltimbocca? We really didn't need a meat slab. An eggplant steak would be perfect... Next up, eggplant saltimbocca over ratatouille.
What did we think? We both ummmmm'd the entire dinner. This had all the flavors we love. Tomatoes, some salty romano cheese, nice meaty eggplant steaks, crispy crunchy sage leaves, browned bits of prosciutto. Oh, my, but this was SO good.
Eggplant Saltimbocca over Ratatouille
for the eggplant:
4 eggplant steaks, peeled and cut about 1" thick
4 slices pancetta
4 sage leaves
1 c flour, mixed with a spicy rub
3 eggs, beaten
1 c panko
1 c finely grated romano
for the sauce:
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 end slices egplant, diced
4 slices prosciutto, chopped
1 slice pancetta, chopped
3 basil leaves, minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 t italian seasonng (or fresh basil, rosemary and oregano)
for the topping:
8 sage leaves
shredded parmesan romano cheese
2 anchovy fillets
This is going to feel like a three ring circus...
Slice and salt the eggplant. Put it in a colander for 10-15 minutes.
Next, start the sauce. Saute the onion, eggplant, prosciutto, pancetta and zucchini in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Just as they start to brown, add the garlic clove. Cook for about a minute then add the diced tomatoes, anchovies and herbs.
This needs to simmer for about half an hour. You may want to take a potato masher and smash some of the tomato pieces. Make sure you cook this down or you'll have a lovely ring of water around your plate when you serve this.
While the sauce is simmering, prepare the eggplant. Rinse the slices and dry them well. Line up the flour, eggs and panko/cheese mixtures in three wide bowls. Dip the eggplant first in the flour then in the egg. Top each slice with a sage leaf then a slice of pancetta.
Re-dip it in the flour and egg then coat both sides in the panko/cheese mixture. Fry the eggplant in olive oil.
When both sides are browned, remove the eggplant from the skillet and put it in a baking dish. Bake it at 425F for 10 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, make the sage leaves and crispy prosciutto in the same skillet. Add more olive oil to the skillet. Saute the sage leaves and prosciutto until both are brown and crispy.
To plate, puddle some of the ratatouille in the center of each plate. Top with two of the eggplant steaks. Then, top those with the crispy prosciutto and the sage leaves. Sprinkle wtih the shredded parmesan romano.