Beauty is all around us. Sometimes I think that I often see more beauty in the fall because it is my favorite season. The temperatures are epic, the leaves are gorgeous, and I can wear boots and sweaters all day, every day. Unfortunately, fall in North Dakota gets cut short sometimes. I could literally live in the autumnal season year round, is there a place like that that exists?
I think this concept is fitting to focus on today because it is COLD here in North Dakota today. Winter has definitely arrived on our doorstep (unannounced as usual) as I saw snowflakes fall to the ground this morning.
Beauty came to mind with this recipe because I pondered for many days about what to make with these beautiful Japanese eggplants that my mother in-law grew in her garden and gifted to me. The punch of purple was so vibrant, especially paired with my favorite Jadeite dishes. I wanted to make something that was equally as beautiful on the plate.
The only thing that I have ever heard of involving eggplant was eggplant parmesan. This eggplant recipe incorporates some elements of Italian cuisine, but harnesses the simple beauty of the eggplant. The recipe reminds me of fried green tomatoes, which is ironic because Japanese eggplant resides in the same family of the tomato because it is in that group of produce that is prepared as a vegetable, but actually is a fruit.
In the end, these crispy slices of eggplant turned out really beautiful. The grape seed oil added a unique flavor and the panko added just the right amount of crunch. Marinara and basil finish off the dish to conceptualize the true picture of beauty.
It is said that food is the only beautiful thing that truly nourishes. I would have to disagree with this quote because I see so much more beauty in the world that can truly satisfy the soul in different ways. Learning to be more mindful in your every day endeavors can help uncover beauty in places you would never expect. What beauty did you see today?
Fried Japanese Eggplant
4 Japanese Eggplant
½ c. grape seed oil
1/4 c. flour
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste
Basil to garnish
Slice the eggplant into 1/8 inch slices. Prepare plates for batter by beating eggs on one plate, flour on one plate, and panko on the last plate. Heat grape seed oil over medium heat. Test heat by dropping batter into oil, when it bubbles to the top, oil is ready. Fry eggplant medallions for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer eggplant medallions to a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil. Top each eggplant slice with marinara and garnish with basil.