1 large eggplant
2 cups plain flour
2 beaten eggs
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 heaping tablespoon of fine yellow corn meal
Salt and pepper
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese, grated
Place flour, egg and breadcrumbs in three separate dishes. Mix in the cornmeal and lemon zest with the Panko breadcrumbs. Wash the eggplant very well. Using a peeler, peel off alternating strips lengthwise, leaving a little skin. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise. Using a mandoline, slice one half lengthwise in very thin (1/8th”) strips. Repeat with 2nd half.
Lay all the strips in a single layer on a clean surface. Sprinkle them lightly with salt, cover with paper towels and blot eggplant until dry.
Set cookie-cooling racks on several cookie sheets. Dip the strips in the flour, then in the egg, and finally the Panko, turning and pressing the Panko on to coat well.
Place the coated strips onto the racks and let them air dry for at least an hour, preferably all day.
Meanwhile, make your marinara sauce.
When ready to bake the strips, drizzle them very lightly with olive oil and bake in a 375 degree oven until they are light golden brown and crispy, about 20 minutes or so, turning them once during that time.
Move the strips on the racks close together into groups of three and cover them with mozzarella. Place them under the broiler to melt the cheese.
Ladle some of the marinara sauce on to the serving plates and sprinkle it well withParmesan. Then set a “threesome” of eggplant on the sauce and add a little more sauce. Don’t smother it, you want to see the stack.
Sprinkle on more Parmesan, then place another set of eggplant strips crosswise from the first and top them with a spoonful of sauce and a little more Parmesan and serve immediately.