Parmesan & Panko-Crusted Eggplant with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

from The Butcher, the Baker, the Wine & Cheese Maker in the Okanagan

Chef Giulio Piccoli of One Big Table in Kelowna grew up in Italy and beautifully imparts the flavours of his homeland into the dishes he creates in his new home. The eggplant is a well-loved ingredient in Italy, but here people tend to not know what to do with it. This is an easy and delicious way to serve your local eggplant Italian style!

Enjoy with 2011 Tempranillo Miscela, D’Angelo Estate Winery: Begins with spicy blackberry and vanilla aromas. On the palate there is blackberry, boysenberry, dark chocolate and vanilla, with a lingering finish of spice and vanilla.

Serves 4


1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/3-inch (8 mm) rounds

1 lb (454 g) tomatoes, quartered

10 basil leaves

4 Tbsp (60 mL) olive oil

1 clove garlic

2 eggs 

1 cup (250 mL) panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

¼ cup (60 mL) Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) cheese, grated

Sea salt and pepper


Season each side of eggplant rounds with sea salt. Place on a towel to drain while preparing the other ingredients. (This step is important to draw out the bitterness that eggplant can hold.)

Meanwhile, whizz the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic in a blender until smooth, set aside. Crack the eggs and whisk in one bowl; mix together the panko and cheese in another. Fold the towel over the eggplant slices and gently squeeze to remove excess salt. Dip each slice in the egg mixture, and then in the panko/cheese mixture. Set on a cutting board or plate. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high. Drizzle olive oil in the frying pan. When hot, add the slices to the pan. Cook on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside while you cook the remaining slices.

To serve, place the fresh tomato sauce in a small bowl in the middle of a serving plate, with the eggplant rounds spiraling around it. Top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a few basil leaves.

Chef’s Note: That’s it! It’s simple and delicious – crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside. And it will start your meal just right. Be creative with it – you can make the sauce with avocado and basil or serve the eggplant in a sandwich. The possibilities are endless.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: I added a little hot sauce to the tomatoes to give it a little punch. You’ll win people over to the eggplant side with this easy and tasty recipe!

Contents and images used with permission by Jennifer Schell and TouchWood Editions.