Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Summer, do not leave

There is still so much to do

They say ask and you shall receive

But simply, that is not true

How is that for an introduction? Yes, those four lines took all of thirty seconds to write and I’m already feeling high on the ranks of T.S. Eliot and his love song of Prufrock. Just kidding, I wouldn’t disrespect one of my favorite poets like that.

Today was an eventful day. I had an 8 AM O-Chem test I rather not talk about, picked up these awesome antique lamps for my sister, ate a feast (more about that on Friday) and almost cried at Whole Foods.

Trust me, I love Whole Foods as much as the next stereotypical organic loving, non-GMO girl. I really do. But every time I leave, I feel like I get stabbed in the nonexistent dark alley on the way to the parking lot and robbed for my money by the cheerful and diverse group of employees. Today at the devil’s market, I spent over $60 on ONE (underlined) bag of groceries! While waiting in line, I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t mind splurging today. All this must cost around $40 dollars”. The cashier gave me an enthusiastic, “that’ll be $68.72!” and I started to take my wallet out of my satchel until I finally comprehended what she said. However guys, I just bit the bullet. I had too much pride to put away my $8 organic heirloom tomato.

Whole Foods: 1 Tara: 0

And that’s even not the end of it. While unpacking my (more expensive than gold per gram) tomatoes, my sister sent me a satrical article on Whole Foods which I really loved. Oh, the irony. I wanted to go through the screen and give the author an e-hug. She understood the struggle. The overprivileged struggle, that is.

Take the time to read the article and come back to me. Understand that I was nodding with every paragraph and telling her ‘preach!’ in my head. That was until I got to the end and looked down to see my Namaste tattoo staring at me. Ugh.

Now, what was this tangent about? Oh yes, tomatoes and summer. This week’s recipe will feature a delicious end of summer treat for all your guests, including yourself!

Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

Prep Time: 40 Minutes (20 minutes waiting)

Cook Time: 20 Minutes

Serves: 3

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Stem of Basil
  • ~1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • ~1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Eggs (not pictured)
  • 1/2 Lb Mozzarella
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper

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1. Optional, but take the skin off the eggplant in stripe formation.

2. Cut the eggplant in 1/4 inch disks.

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3. Salt the eggplants by putting a generous amount of salt on each of them individually and stacking them with baking paper in between. This sucks out the extra water and takes out the bitter flavor. Place something heavy on top and let them dehydrate for 20 minutes. A brown colored liquid will come out but that’s okay, because that’s what you want gone.

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4. Rinse well and pat each one dry.

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5. Set up your working station. One bowl each for the flour, panko bread crumbs and egg (sprinkled with salt and pepper). Put baking paper on a baking pan and drizzle olive oil to cover most of the surface.

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6. Lay the eggplant disk in the flour, front and back.

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7. Next, dip it in the egg with a fork. Be sure to let the excess run off back into the bowl.

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8. Cover the eggplant in the panko crumbs. You will have to mix everything around and sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top until the eggplant is fully covered. Repeat with all slices.

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9. Drizzle more olive oil on the top.

10. Bake for ten minutes. Turn the eggplants around and drizzle more olive oil on top. Bake for another ten minutes for a grand total of twenty minutes.

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10. Cut thin slices of tomato and mozzarella and place on top of the eggplant. Garnish with avocado and basil.

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11. Enjoy outside before summer leaves us for the year.

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Doesn’t that look appetizing? My roommates gave me the blogging equivalent to a Michelin star for this dish.

Back to what I was talking about earlier, I reread my commentary and wanted to mention that food is the one thing I don’t mind spending money on. I’m sure you realize that with the disgusting amount of times I eat out and I always am willing to pay more for something I know was grown naturally with high quality. Don’t get me wrong, I love Whole Foods. It’s like a sibling love going on, I can’t love but hate them. But maybe I will stick to Farmer’s Markets and Rainbow Grocery for produce. Sometimes I just like being melodramatic. That is all.

What are you going to miss the most about summer? Where do you do most of your food shopping?

24 thoughts on “Caprese Panko Crusted Eggplant

  1. I have the same feeling when it comes to food but personally, I think whole foods is very very expensive esp for the produce. I usually get things at TJ or Farmers Market but whole foods have amazing bulk bin section :) that plate is so gorgeous looking. I really want a bite.

  2. Oh that does look amazing!!! I feel you on the Whole Foods thing. I often use Fresh Direct because they deliver my food to me and I can shop online. It’s more expensive but you pay for the convenience. The only problem is their produce has been SO BAD! I actually complained and got a credit back for the produce I bought!

    • Sucks when you’re ready to make a feast and your produce stinks! I bought basil, opened up the package and they had brown spots all over. Right into the trash for me…

  3. I read the article yesterday because it was blowing up on my damn FB feed. While I thought there was some truths to it, I think it all depends on what kind of shopper you are. I shop at WF’s every week and on average spend $80-110/week for 2 people for breakfasts, lunches, & dinners and including household items like; garbage bags, dishwasher soap, dish soap, all the way to meat & beer. I think it just depends what you’re into buying. They really do have great prices on some things, like frozen fruit’s, bulk bin items, etc. I see the humor in the article but it doesn’t apply to everyone. Except the whole part about the parking lots! So many asshole’s in my parking lot! Drives me cray!

    Your food looks delicious & really beautiful! I’m trying to hold on to summer a little longer, too.

    • The parking lot applies to pretty much everywhere in America! I definitely use Whole Foods for things I can’t find in any store. I like their health/beauty products, bulk bins, some prepared snacks and large variety of yogurt and ice cream, but can’t justify a bell pepper (for example) for more than $3 when I have organic ones readily available around me for almost half the price.

  4. Whole paycheck….FML. Seriously everytime I go I’m like okay I can afford that gluten-free, vegan, organic, refined sugar-free bar of nothingness that will make me grow wings and then I get in line only to discover I spent half my life savings on it. I used to live two blocks from the WF at Union Square in NYC and it was a legitimate problem.

    Good thing there’s only 1 WF in Toronto and it’s not convenient otherwise my overwelcomed stay in my parents house (my current digs) would be extended longer than it’s already been…

  5. WF is the closest store within walking distance to me (besides Target) so I end up there a lot for stuff. It COULD be do-able on a budget if you watch for the sales and don’t buy the cute stuff, but where’s the fun in that? I just get so irked about how good, organic, nutritious food is only available to folks with money. Sure, I could afford to put my money in my food quality, but I feel like I’m getting robbed because people CAN charge me that much. So I buy the cheap stuff and complain that I don’t WANT to affort the good stuff :) I’m voting with my dollar the wrong way, I think.

    Oh, and that dish looks scrumptious!

    • Wow, you must be smack dab in the middle of DT to be close to Target! I know, I know, WF is doable and I tend to do it every week. This week just caught me by surprise.

  6. Thank god WF is a long drive away for me. I’ve been driving there once a week anyway mostly for the convenience of their food bar but even that is so expensive. My husband calls me a marketers dream come true coz I fall prey to all the fancy stuff and get ripped off. I told him I’m glad I’m someone’s dream come true :) but I know I get robbed there every time (your writing is so much fun – you might have a fall back career if the o-chem gets too boring for you !!!)
    That caprese stack is amazing! Your best recipe so far since I’ve been reading yor blog (not to say there aren’t other great recipes – I just haven’t been in your archives ) :)

    • Thank you Archana! Sometimes I put a little more work into photographing my food instead of devouring it on the spot. :) I like how you and your husband have such a playful relationship!

      Also, I don’t think I could ever become a professional writer- too many grammar mistakes, too much procrastination.

  7. What are you talking about weirdo?! Late September IS summer in San Francisco, so casual-cool-salad-for-dinner it up, sister!
    It’s definitely all gloom, doom and drizzle in the Den-vizzle.
    Here are the things I miss most about the heat and freedom of yester-month.
    Grilling. Grilling is the new fried, I don’t care what you say. Bread everything in Panko, knock yourself out! .. but just as everything tastes mighty fly fried (with a side of ranch) so goes the way of the grill. From peaches, to sweet potatoes, to inner city s’mores. Mmm hmm.
    I miss having a borderline-legitimate excuse to skip the gym and hit happy hour.
    I miss concerts.. outside.
    And tailgating. But not to the concerts.
    To Whole Foods. Yes, that’s right. Tailgating the market is where it’s at. Most expensive hood-of-the-car picnic ever, but really – one may as well call a spade a spade because no one is leaving the parking lot without reaching into the bag for one crack tortilla chip on the way home ($0.48 each, yup.)

  8. I’ve only shopped at Whole Foods twice. TWICE. I remember those two times very well. The first time I said “damn, that was expensive. I’m never shopping here again.” The second time I went to checkout and I was like “Oh yeah….this is why I don’t shop here.” haha I usually stick to Trader Joe’s or even Giant Eagle when I feel like splurging, though I really like the vibe of Whole Foods. ….hate myself for saying that but it’s true!

  9. The comedian that wrote that article is hilarious! I had no idea that kombucha stood for that in Japanese! The bottle I had recently definitely did not have “the mother” at the bottom. OMG…I couldn’t drink it if it did.
    And the homeless person aka worker in the vitamin section? I die.
    I shop at Whole Foods every week because my inner crazy tells me it’s good for me and for the future of America and all that jazz but I’m not sure if it’s true. Either way, it’s hilarious!

    Oh, and these eggplant capreses look amazing! That $8 heirloom tomato is beautiful!! :)

    • I shop at Whole Foods for the same reason, also because it is less than a mile from my house and so convenient. Don’t you grow heirloom tomatoes? I need to start doing the same! Maybe next year.

  10. I certainly hope that tomato was gold plated. Whole Foods used to rob me too when I was over there, but I was under the self assurance that we don’t have it here in Australia…..empty wallet later…

    I’m loving all your recipes lately- I’m having friends over next week and I reckon I’m going to make all these little veggie ones as some side dishes.. but cheapo tomatoes for me ;)

  11. Haha I was emailed that article yesterday and literally laughed out loud. So funny, yet so true, sadly. We don’t have WF here but we have them back home and it was always dangerous. Especially their gourmet take-out section :)

    This eggplant looks awesome, love anything panko!

  12. Yup, whole foods is definitely pricy, I get my veggies at TJ’s or a Farmer’s Market. I don’t know how people afford WF all the time, I just buy certain fixed items from there. THis looks delicious, I love the combo of basil and eggplant.

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