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"This is one of my mom and sister's favorites—eggplant patties," says Rach. What are eggplant patties? Think of pan-fried fish cakes made with mashed roasted eggplant instead of fish and then topped with a simple tomato sauce and basil. Even better, for the "ultimate" experience, says Rach, "add thin slices of mozzarella on top so it really does look and taste like eggplant Parm." It's a "fun and easy" alternative to that popular classic!
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Poke a few holes in the skin of the eggplants and roast on a foil-lined tray for 40 to 45 minutes until tender, then cool, peel and drain them. Chop and mash the flesh and mix with breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, egg, cheese, salt, pepper and red pepper. Form small patties 2 to 3 inches wide and ½ inch or so thick. Just before frying, dredge in flour.
Fry oil should be about ½ inch deep in pan and heated over medium to medium-high heat. Cook, in batches to avoid crowding pan, for a few minutes on each side. Let the patties drain on rack or paper towel-lined plate.
While the eggplant is roasting, prepare this simple sauce.
Heat a medium pot over medium-low heat with EVOO.
Add onions and garlic, season with salt and cook until sweet, fragrant and very soft, about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir, then add canned tomatoes and basil and keep warm.
Top patties with sauce and extra fresh basil.
Variation: You can also melt thin slices of mozzarella over the patties topped with sauce for a "cheesier" experience, then top with the basil.