Gram-Flour Toasted Eggplant with Salmoriglio Dressing
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that with this post, I have officially invented a new and delicious anti-pasto, or appetizer, that can surely join the ranks of the many classic Italian starters that we all know and love.
And the best part about it, apart from it being so delicious? It is dry-toasted and not fried, making is super-healthy as well as being easy and delicious! Again, these are many reasons to love this dish... so I hope that you give it a try!
Sliced paper-thin, dipped in gram (chickpea) flour and dry-toasted, this is a truly wonderful and different way to enjoy eggplant. Looks may deceive you a little, for although this may look crispy and crunchy, the eggplant is indeed moist and juicy and excellently suited for soaking up a fresh-twist on a classic Sicilian "salmoriglio"- made this time with mint, marjoram, lemon and parsley... mmm!!!- tastes like Summer in The Old Country!
As this was a new invention of mine, I made this evenings plateful using one small eggplant, 1 lemon, 1 cup of gram flour and a good handful of herbs. I guess you could use the measure of 1 cup flour and 1 lemon per eggplant as a rough guide.
OK, maybe not crunchy, but definitely both toasty AND delicious, these eggplant slices have a great roasted chickpea flavor that make them so wonderful! And with no added fat, they are exactly the kind of food I like best!
There are more than enough fried eggplant recipes out there... time for something a little different this time around!
Slice the eggplant as thinly as you possibly can- you can use a fancy kitchen gadget to tho that for you... you you own such a thing! As for me- it just took a sharp knife and a little concentration... and guess what? It worked out AND I still have all my fingers!
Next, scatter your gram flour onto a tray and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Now, simply dip the eggplant slices into the flour from both sides and allow to sit for 5-6 minutes. The salt in the flour will draw out the moisture in the eggplant and the flour will begin to soak it up, turning bright yellow as it does so and creating a nice, light coating.
Don't worry about the coating being uneven on your eggplant slices- as long as you have some on each side you will be fine.
Make sure to have your frying pan nice and hot before you get started and then lay the slices out side-by-side, making sure that none of the slices lie on top of each other. This way they will all brown evenly, they will not stick to each other and you will be able to keep track of how brown they are becoming...
Keep the heat up high and they should take only 2-3 minutes from each side at the most. There will be a a little residue of burned flour at the bottom of your pan, so quickly shake or wipe it out in-between adding each new round.
To make the salmoriglio, simply chop up the herbs as finely as possible, add a pinch of sugar, the juice of a whole lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil and a quick stir! That's all it takes! Traditionally you would make this using only oregano and parsley, with red wine vinegar and olive oil and maybe some finely chopped garlic... but I liked this fresher, lighter version with the mint and marjoram... it went so well with the eggplant!
So- here you have both ingredients, before mixing together- I have to say I think they look terrific!
Golden and beautiful, yet fat-free! Ain't that grand!?!
And with the salmoriglio added, this dish really comes to life!
This dish tastes best when served lukewarm or cold, it is perfect Summer food and would go wonderfully with any Italian meal- you had just make a meal that will live up to your guests expectations after they eat this! Enjoy!