Eggplant Cutlets: Cotolette di Melanzane
Slice the eggplants into round slices, each about 1/2 -inch thick. Sprinkle the slices liberally with salt and then place them in a colander. It is all right if the eggplant slices overlap or cover one another. Leave the eggplant in the colander for at least 1 hour, giving the salt time to absorb the eggplant's bitterness. Don't rinse the eggplant, just shake off excess water.
When eggplant are ready to be used, use a fork to lightly beat the three eggs in a shallow bowl. Spread the breadcrumbs out in a baking pan. Season the eggplant slices to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each eggplant slice first in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs. In a 2-quart saucepan, heat extra-virgin olive oil to come up a 1/4 way u pthe side of the pan, over medium heat. When the oil begins to smoke, lay several eggplant slices in a single layer in the pan. Fry the slices until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. When the first batch is cooked, remove the eggplant from the pan to a serving dish using a slotted spoon. Repeat the cooking process, beginning by adding 3 fresh tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, until all of the cutlets are cooked. Serve warm, garnished with caciocavallo cheese, pepperoncino, fennel fronds and juice from the orange wedges.
Recipe courtesy Mario Batali