Aubergine cutlets – Cotoletta di melanzana al pecorino

I love the word ‘cutlet’, it has such a nice, comforting old-fashioned ring to it.  The word is used here, I believe, to remind us that although the cutlet in question is actually made up of a vegetable (the aubergine) and not meat … it can serve as a main course just as well as meat.  Owing to its pecorino cheese and egg wash content, this ‘cutlet’ certainly touts a good bit of protein and, most important of all, is a crispy delight for the palate as any FFF (fried food fanatic) can attest.

Here is the slab of pecorino cheese just out of the fridge …

I hate grating cheese, as you know, and so cut up about half of the cheese and put it in the food processor to do the job for me.  This is something I would never do when it comes to grating pecordino (or parmigiano) for pasta, as the cheese must be grated very finely by hand for that purpose.

Put the mechanically grated pecorino in a bowl and add about the same amount of bread crumbs (on the right in the photo).  These are bread crumbs the Italian way: very finely crumbled as you can see, and not the coarse stuff one buys outside of Italy, although I am sure they would work too.

Add a pinch of salt (yes, I know pecorino is salty but you still need to add a bit of salt – aubergines just love their salt), and mix the pecorino and the bread crumbs together so that they combine intimately.

Put some flour in another bowl and set aside.

Crack some eggs and then beat them together with a fork or a small whisk …

And now it’s time to get cracking:

Cut the aubergines in rounds, quite thick cutlet-style rounds, and dredge them in the flour first …

Then soak them in the beaten eggs …

And last, pat them down firmly on both sides in the mixture of pecorino and bread crumbs.

As you draw near the end of this factory-line-type operation, pour plenty of oil into a frying pan and turn the heat on.

Fry the cutlets, making sure the temperature of the oil stays hot, and turning the aubergines over once only.  Drain and set aside.  Sprinkle a little salt just before serving.  Il fritto vuole il sale, we say in Italian.  “Fried foods crave salt”.

I cut up some tomatoes to accompany the cutlets, adding a handful of capers too.

And we had a salad to go with the cutlets …

Well, most of the salad had been eaten by the time I took this photo …. it consisted of flat-leaf parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and (if you peak very closely on the left of the plate) a little bit of anchovy fillet.  All very fresh, all very summery just like the aubergine – an iconic summer vegetable.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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5 Responses to Aubergine cutlets – Cotoletta di melanzana al pecorino

  1. Alanna says:

    Looks absolutely scrumptious. Perhaps I would even consider making this on a hot summer day. How on earth do you manage to fry in August?

  2. Alanna says:

    They were delicious! However, how do you prevent the breadcrumbs from burning in the hot oil? I thought I did a good job of shaking off the excess before plopping them in the oil, but I ended up with burnt scrum in my fry pan, which made for a smoky mess.

  3. josephine says:

    What kind of oil were you using? Also, another ‘trick’ of frying is to use a smaller pan, with a good inch of oil in it, and change it often — rather than a larger pan where the level of the oil will be shallower. The burnt scrum can be removed by and by … so that it will not ruin the oil. Generally speaking, groundnut oil is best for frying on account of its smoke point. For some weird reason, I prefer sunflower oil! what can I say, it works better for me. Let me know …

    • Alanna says:

      I used plain ol’ olive oil… Yes, I probably should have changed the oil toward the end. I’ll try sunflower next time and prepare a smaller quantity of aubergine.

  4. josephine says:

    “Plain ol’ olive oil” is the best!!!! just more expensive …

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