The fried eggplant “pirogue” was made famous by Chef Paul Prudhomme. We loved it back then, and we love it now!
Makes 6 Servings
- 3 Japanese or small eggplants
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups plain bread crumbs, divided
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound peeled and deveined medium fresh shrimp
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ¼ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 dried bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1½ cups shredded fontina cheese
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ cup chopped green onion
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
- Garnish: chopped fresh thyme
- Peel eggplants; remove tops, and cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out centers, leaving a ½-inch border.
- In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2½ inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350°.
- In a shallow dish, whisk together 1 cup flour and Creole seasoning. In another shallow dish, whisk together ½ cup milk and eggs. In a third shallow dish, place 1¾ cups bread crumbs. Dredge eggplant in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip in milk mixture, letting excess drip off. Dredge in bread crumbs, pressing gently to adhere.
- Working in batches, fry eggplant until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Let drain on paper towels.
- In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, and cook until pink, about 1 minute. Remove from pan.
- In same pan, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add yellow onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ¼ cup flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in cream, wine, and remaining ½ cup milk. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in fontina and ¼ cup Parmesan, stirring until melted and combined. Remove from heat, and add green onion and thyme; return shrimp to pan, and stir until combined.
- Position oven rack 6 inches from top. Preheat oven to broil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- On prepared pan, arrange fried eggplant. Spoon shrimp mixture onto fried eggplant (about ½ cup each).
- In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup bread crumbs and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan. Sprinkle over shrimp mixture.
- Broil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with thyme, if desired.