Tomatoes with Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata


I’ve spent almost all of my adult life working at universities. For me, the year starts over again in September.  This time of year always feel like a fresh start to me—anything is possible! There is a chill in the air, and scarves are just around the corner. I love it.

It happens to coincide with the height of market season in the Midwest. It is truly harvest time, and the market stands are a veritable cornucopia of fruits and vegetables. On Saturday at Oak Park’s market we saw everything: apples, raspberries (and strawberries!), tomatoes, corn, peppers and squash. It is nuts. It is the closest our markets ever get to the produce section of your local supermarket. It is hard to take advantage of all of this goodness, so try to concentrate on what is important. For me, that is usually tomatoes.


This simple supper is one of the best things I ate this summer. I like to think of it as a deconstructed eggplant Parmesan—fresher and brighter than the original. It is pretty easy to put together, and makes the most of the last of the tomatoes. I used some perfect sun golds, but you can use whatever is delicious. Salt, friends…salt is the secret to this recipe. You want some nice sea salt and plenty of it.

I hope everyone’s school year is off to a great start.


Tomatoes with Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata (from Martha Stewart Living)

  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 3 large eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 4 Japanese eggplants (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total), cut on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, preferably in a mix of colors (you can sub larger tomatoes that you cut into wedges)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, half of them torn
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 ball (about 7 ounces) burrata cheese (you can use fresh mozzarella, but it won’t be as creamy and delicious)

Place flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate wide, shallow bowls. Working with 1 eggplant slice at a time, dredge in flour, then dip in egg and then breadcrumbs. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve tomatoes and toss with olive oil and torn basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat about 1/4 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add enough eggplant slices to fill but not crowd skillet and fry, flipping once, until deep golden brown and crunchy, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. (Lower heat slightly, if necessary.) Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on a clean wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, and season with salt. Discard used oil and repeat process with fresh oil and remaining eggplant.

Arrange eggplant and tomato mixture on a platter. Cut burrata in half, place next to tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter remaining basil on top.

27 comments to “Tomatoes with Crisp Fried Eggplant and Burrata”

  1. I know what you mean about life being set to the rhythm of an academic calendar. Happy start to the new school year! This eggplant looks like a wonderful way to begin it.

  2. It’s funny but it also happens to me that when I say next year I mean next September. I haven’t work at university but it may be that it’s only four years since I finished studying. I have to start getting use to change my calendar and start the year on January.
    Tomatoes and eggplant are some of my summer favorites, I love their flavor. They are tasty even when cook very simple.

  3. I never want the eggplant to end. Happy new year! ;)

  4. This simple meal captures all of the glory of summer. And I agree with your strategy for dealing with so much produce (!) at the markets: tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.

  5. This looks delicious. As we’re coming in to Summer in Australia I’ll have plenty of opportunities to try this one. Thanks for posting!

  6. I love this simple meal! Yum!

  7. I feel exactly the same way about the start of the school year! This looks delicious by the way, I’ll have to see if I can track down some burrata.

  8. You had me at burrata.

  9. Deconstructed eggplant Parmesan, no problem…grew up on it and I’m always game for all the great variations, including this one (too bad burrata is nowhere to be found way up here in NorCal).

  10. This looks so delicious! I used to live in Chicago and I love following your blog because I makes me so nostalgic for the city. Missing the midwest markets..

  11. I love the concept of this post. The fresh market season, the deconstructed eggplant parm and burrata (both of which I have become acquainted with over the past month,) and the overall seasonal theme here. Well done!!

  12. Anything with buratta screams my name, and add crispy eggplant and tomatoes and I’m beyond sold. Everything on this plate sounds like heaven.

  13. OMG. Need this, want this, gotta make this. (P.S. Did you know that I live in Italy now?? I do! So I have a duty to make this!)

  14. This looks fantastic. I will try this recipe for sure!

  15. I am like you and bound by school terms as I teach cookery within the community plus my kids are at school so summer is a world apart fro the rest of the year! I love aubergines and the crisp coating sounds ideal, especially with some lovely tomatoes to go with them :)

  16. Looks delicious! I have too much eggplant and tomatoes between my farm share and my garden right now, so I will definitely try this out this weekend. Happy new school year to you! Way to put a positive spin on summer ending…

  17. This looks brilliant. I’ve always struggled to get aubergine right, I guess I’ll have to give your recipe a try!

  18. Can’t thank you enough for introducing me to burrata!

  19. Hello, Tim. Thanks goodness, you got a post now. For some reason, I did not see your last week’s post. As I said before, I love reading your site. I have a request though, is there a chance that you can put a drop down archive in your site? The one in months basis because what happens when I read is that, I cannot remember which month of your previous post that I had read and I keep on going back and scrolling back not knowing and not sure what post I can get. I think it is just one of the widget that goes with your WordPress theme. I am so demanding and this is so self serving request but I thought I try. Thanks for writing nice and funny post.

  20. Such perfect timing for me to find this post! I find myself with some burrata and it has been hard work to not just eat it out of its box, holding out for a good recipe.
    This is going to make for a wonderful supper.

  21. Mmmmmmm! looks so simple and delicious! x

  22. I still measure time by an academic calendar, though I’m nearly twenty years (oof!) out from graduation.

    And funny: I saw this very dish in MSL, and paged right past it. Obviously, a mistake. Will make this with the last of the local eggplant in my fridge, plus some buffalo mozarella, which is sort of a burrata-wanna-be.

    Thank you for calling this one out!

  23. schneiderluvsdoof says:

    September 30th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    This looks really delicious. I am going to get some eggplant at the market next weekend and try this!

  24. I LOVE eggplant…I usually make caprese salad with eggplant in it. I’ll have to try this next.

  25. Thanks very very much for this fantastic looking recipe. I’m currently spending the month in Santorini, Greece as part of a round-the-world trip and have an apartment with a kitchen. The markets are filled with beautiful purple and white eggplants and Santorini’s special cherry tomatoes. I’m a culinary dunce when it comes to eggplant. So thanks! May have to substitute the buratta for some different Greek cheese. Great blog!

  26. schneiderluvsdoof says:

    November 4th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Must make.

  27. my mouth is salivating. oh my gosh.

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