Vegan Pan Fried Eggplant with Thai Basil Pesto

Posted on May 14, 2011

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I walked into to work on Friday and discovered something wonderful in the produce case- Michigan grown thai basil.  I’ve never cooked with this particular herb before and I was instantly curious.  Lucky for me there were also some other new additions, and the one that caught my eye was eggplant.  Not those monstrous melon-sized things you usually see.  No, these eggplants were perfect.  Smooth dark purple skin, about 7 inches long, and just small enough to cut into medallions.   Only one question remained: How to combine them?

I let all the components rumble around in my head for awhile, threw in past experiences with eggplant and sweet basil, and checked wikipedia to find that thai basil has a subtle licorice flavor.  This is what I came up with:

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Wash one medium eggplant  and slice into half inch thick rounds.  Place in a colander and coat with salt.  Let it sit for about a half a hour, rinse, place on paper towels to dry.

Rinse one package (.75oz) thai basil and leave it in the colander to drain.  Set aside 6 leaves for garnishing.  Combine 1/4 cup soy flour, 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour, 2 tsp yellow curry powder, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger, and 1/2 tsp garlic granules in a bowl.

Chop the basil finely, combine with 2 Tbsp sunflower oil and 1 Tbsp lime juice, set aside.  Dredge the eggplant rounds in the flour and spice mixture.  Set each one aside on a clean flat surface as you go.  When you’re done, go back and do each slice a second time, making sure that they are thoroughly coated.  Now melt about 2 Tbsp coconut oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  (I use two pans at once so I won’t have to do a second batch.  If you use one pan just add more oil before putting in the second batch of eggplant.)  When the oil is hot place a single layer of eggplant slices into the pan.  Cook two minutes on each side.  This high heat cooking will produce a wonderful creamy texture in the finished dish.

While the eggplant is cooking slice one ripe avocado into 8 pieces.  Set aside.  When the eggplant is done place on paper towels to absorb some of the oil.  Divide into two portions, top with avocado slices and basil mixture.  Drop the 6 reserved thai basil leaves into the hot oil for a few seconds until just crispy.  Place on top of prepared dishes.  Eat.

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Posted in: Cooking, Ingredients