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RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Eggplant medallions with crab meat béchamel

There is no better combination than fresh Louisiana produce and local seafood. In the following recipe, I paired my favorite vegetable with my almost-favorite shellfish (second only to oysters).

1 large eggplant
1 cup flour plus 4 tablespoons
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups half-and-half
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 pound lump crab meat
2 tablespoons capers
Peel and slice eggplant into 1/2-inch medallions. Salt and place slices between 2 plates for 30 minutes. Pour off water and pat dry. Line up 3 small bowls. In the first, put 1 cup flour mixed liberally with salt and pepper. In the next, the egg and milk beaten together, and in the last, the bread crumbs.
Heat olive oil in a wide, non-stick skillet. When medium-hot, dip eggplant slices first into flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs, and brown in the skillet on both sides, turning frequently, until done. Place on paper towels to drain and keep warm.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Remove from fire and stir in 4 tablespoons flour. Mix until smooth. Gradually add half-andhalf and mix until smooth. Return to low heat and, stirring constantly, cook until sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Do not boil.
Remove from fire. Add salt and pepper, crabmeat and capers.
To serve, place 2 eggplant medallions on each plate and spoon crab-meat mixture over. Serves 4.

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