Fried Sandwich of Yum

I get excited when stuff I like goes on sale at the grocery store. Like eggplant. I haven’t really done a whole lot with eggplant except fry it.

And let’s be clear…frying = awesome. To be more clear, frying in a cast-iron skillet = heavenly.

Instead of the traditional parmesan-style of preparation, I make mine into little sandwiches. It’s the same thing I do with a lot of fried round objects (fried green tomatoes, fried apple rounds, fried squash rounds). Take two little round fried lovelies and put some cheese in the middle. Mmmmmmmmmm…

Fried Eggplant & Goat Cheese Sandwiches
–eggplant, sliced into rounds
–garlic salt
–ground black pepper
–2 eggs, lightly beaten
–vegetable or canola oil for frying
–1 small log of goat cheese
–can of diced tomatoes or your favorite spaghetti sauce

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Heat 2″ of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium to medium high heat. You will know the oil is ready to fry with when flicking a little water into the oil causes it to pop slightly.

Line up the following assembly line style: Eggplant rounds, bowl of egg-wash, plate/shallow bowl of flour. Season the flour with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika and stir around with a fork so spices get evenly mixed.As Kathryn told you in her chicken wings recipe, when frying objects that have wet and dry components use one hand for the dry goods and one hand for the wet ones. I use a fork with the eggplant to try and keep my hands less goo-covered.

Working in a line, take each eggplant round and swish it around in the egg-wash. Then place it in the flour and turn so that all sides are evenly coated.

Add each round to the skillet and fry until golden on each side. Remove to drain on paper towels and add the next batch to the oil.

An important tip about frying is to change out the oil after every two batches. This ensures that your fried bits will be golden and won’t get burned on the outside but remain uncooked on the inside. You should change out the oil when frying veggies or meat like fried chicken for the best results.

Once all the rounds have been fried, line half of them on a cookie sheet. Slice the goat cheese log into rounds and place on top of the sheeted rounds. Add the other half of the eggplant rounds to the top making a complete sandwich. Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 10 minutes or until the goat cheese is softened.

In the interim, work on the tomato sauce. It’s a great shortcut to use half of a jar of your favorite sauce. I like to make my own and do so by sautéing chopped onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. I then add a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir together. Then I season it with either tarragon or oregano depending upon my mood.

Remove the sandwiches from the oven and plate. Top with tomato sauce and serve!

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