I adore Eggplant Parmesan, but not so much the time it takes to make. So as we were sitting around trying to think of applications for the Deep Purple (eggplant) episode of Good Eats someone said: “noodles.” Can you make noodles out of eggplant? Heck yeah you can. And if you play your culinary cards right, you can get all the flavor of eggplant parm in just 60 seconds.
A note on purging: Eggplants are 95 percent water, and that water is laden with rather bitter-tasting alkaloids. This is why most of the eggplant served in America feels like Styrofoam and tastes like old coffee. By “curing” the eggplant with salt, much of this troublesome fluid can be drawn out. The result: better flavor and a meaty, toothsome texture that won’t remind you a bit of biting off a chunk of cooler.
When shopping for an eggplant, choose one with tight skin, no wrinkles or blemishes. It should be kind of heavy for its size, and when pressed with a finger the flesh will give slightly, but bounce back all the way.
- 1 large eggplant, about 1 pound
- Kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon basil, chiffonade
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
- Peel the eggplant, leaving 1-inch of skin at the top and bottom. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (I would use a mandolin for this.)
- Place the eggplant slices on a cooling rack set over the sink and generously sprinkle with kosher salt. Wait 15 minutes, flip, sprinkle again and wait another 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly under cool water and gently squeeze out excess water. Place on paper towels and pat dry, then cut the slices into 1/4-inch-wide strips so that they resemble linguine.
- Heat a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and toss for 10 seconds. Add the eggplant and toss to coat. Add the tomato and toss for 15 to 20 seconds. Add the cream and toss for another 10 seconds. Finish with the bail and Parmesan. Transfer to a serving dish, top with breadcrumbs, toss and serve immediately.