fried eggplants with tomatillo sauce

fried eggplant with tomatillo sauce
one of the best things about {food} blogging has been that it’s pushed me out of my {cooking} comfort zone. instead of repeating my favorite go-to dishes, i’ve been exploring new ingredients and trying different combinations and variations of foods that have been a part of my life since childhood. one ingredient that has always intrigued me is the tomatillo, mostly because i find it so beautiful, but also because i had never seen one until i moved to california in the 80’s (the tomatillo originates in mexico). up until now i’ve always admired the tomatillos from afar at the market (not knowing what to do with them), but today i brought a few home-along with a couple of organic eggplants, which looked like they might make the perfect pairing. i decided to fry the eggplants and serve them with a fresh tomatillo sauce-after the first eggplant was done, i quickly dipped it in the beautiful green sauce and took a bite (and burned my tongue, of course)-it was delicious beyond expectation: refreshingly hot & cold at the same time, creamy, crunchy, spicy and just tangy enough to add a welcome punch.
the eggplants were sliced with their skins on, allowed to sweat out their bitterness, then dipped in an egg & milk (omelette) combination before being “breaded”.  for a gluten free option, i tried almond meal to coat one batch of eggplants. both options were tasty (the almond meal coated ones tasted nutty and were crunchier), but the ones made with bread crumbs were slightly softer and more delicate. when it comes to this new favorite dish, there will have to be repetition….we won’t be able to wait too long before we’ll want more!
{click on read more for recipe}:

for the tomatillo sauce:

  • 5-6 tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed
  • 1/2 of a small white onion, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped (leave seeds depending on the level of spicy that you prefer-the more seeds the spicier)
  • 1 bunch organic cilantro (about 1/4-1/2 cup chopped)
  • sea salt to taste

1. boil 3 cups of water in a sauce pan, add the tomatillos and boil them until just tender, about 7-8 minutes. drain, allow them to cool off.
2. add the tomatillos, jalapeno, cilantro, sea salt, and onion to a blender or food processor and blend well-add a touch (1/4 cup) of water if necessary.
3. pour sauce in to a bowl, taste and adjust for salt, and allow the sauce to rest in the bowl for 30-40 minutes prior to serving.

 for the fried eggplants:

  • 2 eggplants, washed and dried, then sliced in 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1-2 cups good bread crumbs or almond meal (or combination of)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying

1. slice the eggplants, sprinkle with salt, and allow them to sweat for at least 30-40 minutes, then pat dry.
2. whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt & pepper.   start by dipping the eggplants in the egg mixture, then coating them with your choice of bread crumbs or almond meal on both sides.

eggplants coated with almond meal

3. in a skillet heat the olive oil and start frying the eggplants on medium heat for about 2-4 minutes on each side, or until just golden.

4. drain the fried eggplants on paper towels for just a few minutes before serving them with some tomatillo sauce under, and some over the fried eggplant. a touch of cream would be a good addition. this dish is potentially addictive…..oh, well!
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