Turn Eggplant Parm Into A Crispy Canapé

Eggplant parmesan is many things — rich, earthy, complex, and satisfying — but it's not exactly delicate. It's a great meatless choice that's not frou-frou and is the kind of dish that may be a labor of love but is oh-so-worth it. Though expert cooking with eggplant may require some know-how, once you've mastered the aubergine (commonly called in British English), it can figure in a wide range of dishes.

Eggplants come in a gorgeous array of varieties, from the classic American globe eggplant with its deep, glossy, and thick skin, to the slender Chinese and Japanese varieties and even the dainty purple-and-white-streaked fairy tale eggplant. Each type has its own unique set of flavors and textures, giving you a range of global cuisine options to explore. But if you're wondering how to transform your hearty eggplant parmesan into an appetizer with no silverware required, we have you covered.

Eggplant is sliced, dipped, baked, and topped to make a lovely appetizer

Eggplant parmesan is typically served as a layered dish, but one you'd never expect to pick up and eat as a crisp canapé. Fried eggplant, coated in panko or perhaps Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs, gets topped with a healthy serving of red sauce like marinara, then baked with a generous covering of mozzarella cheese.

Reimagining your hearty layered dish as a delicate appetizer requires rethinking proportions. Select a small eggplant, such as a Chinese or Japanese eggplant, and slice it into 1/4-inch thick slices. Then, salt them to remove some of the water, coat them in panko, and they will become the perfect base for your bite-sized eggplant parm canapé. When it's time to serve, you can opt for a traditional route with a dollop of tomato sauce and some fresh-shaved parmesan, or you can layer on various toppings, like a fresh-made pesto, thinly sliced prosciutto, fresh arugula, or even a touch of rich burrata cheese

Making your eggplant parm apps with various fresh, colorful toppings is the perfect way to build a platter of vibrant bites, all resting on perfectly crisp fried eggplant. By reconceiving the dish as perfectly assembled individual bites, you're transforming a hearty dish into tempting morsels guests will devour.