Yet another recipe involving frying … I must be obsessed, what can I say. My mother taught me this recipe a few years ago and it immediately met with my high FFF (fried food fanatic) standards.
I made it as an amuse bouche for a group of young boys (my son and his mates) eagerly watching Italy play against Germany during last Summer’s European Football Championship. I made quite a lot of these aubergine and mozzarella sandwiches that evening but managed to taste just one — the rest all got wolfed down by these young lads — and I now superstitiously credit these morsels with bringing the Italy team good luck and into the finals. I am not a strong football fan myself but strangely see the ‘logic’ of doing things in a certain way on the day of an important match. Considering that Italy lost 4-0 against Spain in the finals because I did NOT make these morsels on that occasion, I shall see what I can do about redressing the situation come next occasion of the European Football Championship. Close friends who were with me the night Italy won the World Championship in 2006 will attest to the fact that I was making bruschetta almost non-stop during the match — and so bruschetta is another viable alternative for bringing your football team luck on an important match.
The main ingredients are aubergines, mozzarella and anchovy fillets. The reason the anchovy fillets look a mess in the above photo is that I had just rinsed them several times to get rid of the salt they were packed in.
(1) Turn the oven on at 200°C. (2) And now the production line begins. This consists in dredging slices of aubergine in flour first and secondly in the beaten egg wash, and then putting some mozzarella and a little bit of anchovy fillet in between two slices, so as to make a ‘sandwich’. The sandwich is then fried in plenty of hot oil (on this occasion I used groundnut/peanut oil). Please remember, for this particular recipe, to peel the aubergines first.
Next, slice the aubergines and put them back in the bowl and add more flour if necessary to coat them, like the song “Mack the Knife”, all pearly white. Do use your hands for this, it’s actually quite a satisfying sensation.
Transfer all the aubergine slices into the bowl with the egg wash and, again, using your hands, coat them all over in its golden stickiness.
A little note here, a little pause for reflection. You may think I have given you superfluous instructions up above but actually, it is the ‘little’ tips like these that help to simplify kitchen life and take the drudgery out of it. Being ‘creative’ in the kitchen is all very well but there is a ‘mechanical’ side to it, too, a little bit of clear thinking and discipline if you like, that simply cannot be done away with without serious consequences: food might take forever to prepare and the kitchen will get into a terrible mess and put people off cooking altogether. Getting all the ingredients all ready and waiting, doing things in a certain order and way, and using one’s hands … all make for light and speedy work. It literally took me no time at all to prepare these sandwiches because I took time to think about what I was about to cook and work out the step 1, step 2 and step 3 etc before even beginning. Okay, end of lecture and on with the recipe.
Fry the aubergine slices until they go golden, turning them over only once, and set aside to drain on kitchen paper or other oil-removing method of your choice (placing them in a sieve or colander for instance).
This is not a very clear photo, I’m afraid. What it was meant to show was an oven dish containing slices of fried aubergines. The mozzarella is placed on the slices first, followed by a little bit of anchovy fillet.