Eggplant Caprese Salad – Fried eggplant topped with the classic flavors of a caprese salad, served atop a bed of peppery arugula.
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The other day when I shared my recipe for The Best Green Beans Ever, I mentioned that I originally prepared those beans at a dinner I hosted for a group of ladies from a fundraising group here in my town. This eggplant caprese salad was also a recipe I prepared that evening and it seemed to be a hit, so here I am sharing it.
A classic caprese, to my knowledge, is just tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Because there are so few ingredients, my biggest tip is to make sure you are using high quality ingredients. Don’t skimp on the cheese, make sure you are buying a fresh mozzarella.
The only real cooking involved in this Eggplant Caprese Salad recipe is the eggplant. After you give each eggplant slice a turn through your breading station (flour, egg, breadcrumbs) it just gets a quick fry in some oil. As with anything that I cook in oil, when I remove it from the pan, I place on paper towels to take away the excess oil. If you’ve made my Eggplant Parmesan recipe, the breading station will be very familiar to you.
To make this Eggplant Caprese Salad a bit easier, I used bottled balsamic glaze. I sometimes make my own, I sometimes don’t. If you are making your own, it really is just a matter of cooking down balsamic vinegar until it’s reduced and thick. Go with what you prefer.
This Eggplant Caprese Salad has all the flavors of a traditional caprese salad with the tasty additions of fried eggplant and peppery arugula.
- 1 eggplant
- 1/2 C flour
- 1 C seasoned bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- vegetable, canola or similar oil
- 12 cherry tomatoes halved
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves torn
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cut into slices
- 2 C baby arugula
- balsamic glaze
Cut eggplant into slices and then half those so create half moon shapes. Set aside. Create a breading station using 3 shallow bowls. In the first one, combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder. In the second bowl lightly beat eggs. The last bowl is for the breadcrumbs.
Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg and finally coat in the breadcrumbs.
Once all eggplant is breaded, pour enough oil in a fry pan to coat the bottom. Heat oil over medium/high heat. When the oil sizzles when a breadcrumb is dropped in, it's hot enough. Place eggplant slices in oil, without over crowding. Cook 2-3 minutes, flip over and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oil and place over paper towels to remove excess oil.
Place arugula on a platter. Arrange eggplant slices, basil, tomatoes and mozzarella over the arugula. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the top and serve.
Go light on the balsamic glaze when serving. It's best to allow your guests to add additional if desired.
Eggplant Caprese Salad Recipe Note:
When it comes to frying like this, I don’t bother with a thermometer. The trick I’ve always used is once the oil sizzles when a breadcrumb is tossed in, it’s hot enough. If the eggplant browns too quickly just turn it down. On my stove, the perfect spot seems to be between 6-7 on the dial
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