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Author Notes: A method to milanese for days.
This recipe uses eggplant as a plant-based version of a classic Italian Milanese, which is often seen with a veal chop as the main protein. However, I'm a firm believer in recipe adaptation and experimentation, and found that a basic template exists in this breaded treat. A simple and swift supper that can be set-up in advance (in part), a choose-your-own-adventure milanese might bring back that mealtime magic you've been missing.
[Some proteins to get you going: Cutlets of any kind, pork or veal chops, eggplant, cauliflower steaks, or even portobello mushroom caps would al be outstanding] —Jr0717
For the salad:
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 large tomato (or 2 medium, or approximately 1 1/4 cups cherry tomatoes)
- greens: approximately 1 cup (smushed, not packed) arugula, watercress, spinach, or fresh herbs (I used a mix of cilantro, parsley, and basil for the eggplant milanese)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch sugar
- Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, rice wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar together in a small bowl.
- Dice the onion and tomato (alternatively, chop them into bite-sized pieces. Whichever you prefer, but do make them relatively small). Roughly chop your greens into shreds and/or a chiffonade.
- Toss the onion, tomato, and greens with the dressing, and let marinate while you prepare the protein (in this case, the eggplant).
For the Eggplant (protein):
- 1 protein, plant-based or otherwise, in a quantity fitting for four people. Use your judgment based on what you choose to bread and fry up. I used two healthy eggplants for four people in this case.
- 1.5 cups seasoned breadcrumbs (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan or locatelli cheese (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on just-fried protein)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- neutral oil, for frying
- Slice your protein (if needed) or prepare as necessary for breading. (For veal chops or cutlets of any kind, obviously slicing isn't necessary)
- Place breadcrumbs in a large bowl and add the grated cheese; mix to incorporate. In another bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly until uniformly yellow and season with salt and pepper.
- Bread your protein, dipping it in the egg wash and then in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides well. Lay on a sheet tray until everything is breaded.
- Heat the oil gently, over medium-low flame, in a large, shallow frying pan. Line a large sheet tray with paper toweling for draining. Alternatively, set a raised cooling rack on the sheet tray to allow oil to drip off.
- Fry your protein until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. When each piece is removed from the pan to the draining tray, sprinkle with reserved cheese. (If frying a lot, keep the fried proteins warm in an oven set to the 'keep warm' setting, or about 100 degrees F)
- Arrange your proteins on a serving platter and top with the marinated salad. Serve immediately, and feel cool for pulling off an elegant meal with ease!