Sunday, July 3, 2011

Eggplant Milanesa Torta and More!

Howdy howdy, y'all!  With grilling season all up in herre, we decided to get our cook on for the long weekend.  Today's menu includes tortas, cucumber salad, grilled corn, and grilled pound cake.

Tortas are a Mexican sandwich that can be filled with pretty much anything.  Usually, you've got your main protein and fill the sandwich up with great things like refried beans, onions, avocado, tomato, lettuce, salsa, etc.  This eggplant milanesa variety is one I've been making for awhile, and it's definitely my favorite!  Milanesa is just a thinly sliced piece of protein that has been breaded and fried.  The eggplant works wonderfully here because it gets a super crunchy outside but stays chewy in the middle.

torta insides

Eggplant Milanesa Torta
(serves 4)

The key to getting crispy eggplant is to dredge lightly.  There should only be a thin coating of the starch mixture and a quick dip in the non-dairy milk.  Use your fingers to sprinkle the bread crumbs onto each side.  If you can’t find bolillos or teleras, feel free to use small hoagie rolls or mini baguettes.

¾ lb eggplant
⅓ cup potato starch or cornstarch
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp fine sea salt, more or less to taste
½ tsp cracked black pepper
⅓ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

4 bolillo or telera rolls
thinly sliced tomatoes
shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
2 small avocados, thinly sliced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 recipe Chipotle Chile Limon Mayo

Remove the top and bottom from the eggplant.  Thinly slice lengthwise into 8 pieces.  Salt each slice and place in a colander or on a cooling rack.  Set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Get three shallow bowls together for your breading station.  Add the potato starch, cumin, ancho chile powder, sea salt, and black pepper to the first bowl.  Add the non-dairy milk to the second bowl.  Add the bread crumbs to the third bowl.

Rinse the eggplant with plenty of cold water and drain.  Use a towel to pat them dry.  Dip each piece in the potato starch mixture, then into the milk, and finally into the Panko.  Add them to a greased cookie sheet.  Spray the tops with nonstick spray, and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, flip, give another spray of oil, and return to the oven for 15 more minutes.

To assemble a sandwich, spread the mayo onto each half of the bolillo.  Add avocado, tomato, onion, and lettuce to the top bun.  Add 2 slices of eggplant milanesa to the bottom bun.  Close the sandwich and enjoy!

closer look at the eggplant
The chipotle chile limon mayo is really good, and we also love it slathered on our grilled corn. This mayo really can be as spicy or non spicy as you like. To make the chipotle puree, just empty a can of chipotles in adobo into a small bowl and use an immersion blender to puree (you may want to seed them if you aren't a fan of spicy things). Store in a clean glass jar in the fridge.

delicious corn
Chipotle Chile Limon Mayo
(makes about ¾ cup)

½ cup vegan mayonnaise
2 ½ Tbsp chipotle puree, more or less to taste (see above)
zest and juice of 1 small lime

Mix everything in a small bowl.  Chill until ready to use.

grilled pound cake!  with strawberries!  and rad whip!
For the pound cake, I just used the Vcon recipe. I did a thin layer of margarine on both sides of each slice, and placed it on the bbq grill. I had to finish them in a grill pan, though, because it was taking way too long outside. The pound cake was soooo ridiculously good! Seriously.

Wishing all of y'all a Happy 4th of July!!! Whatcha making?