1 firm, slim medium eggplant, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups or 20-24 slices)
kosher salt
1 package (8 ounces) light cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup minced fresh basil
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
vegetable oil (for cooking eggplant)

Lightly salt eggplant slices with kosher salt; place in colander and weight the slices with a heavy pot. Let stand in sink at least 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Mix cream cheese and basil in small bowl until smooth. Combine bread crumbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper on sheet of waxed paper. Crack eggs into a pie plate or shallow dish; froth with a fork. Spread eggplant slices with herbed cheese, using about 2 teaspoons on smaller slices and slightly more on larger ones. Make sandwiches with the slices. Dip sandwiches first in beaten eggs, then in crumbs until well coated. Heat oil to 1I8-inch depth in large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. When very hot, fry sandwiches, in batches without crowding, until crisp and golden on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Serve warm (not hot). Sandwiches can be kept warm in preheated 22S-degree oven while remaining sandwiches are cooked. These are nice with a thick tomato sauce. This recipe is contributed by Abby Mandel and is from her book, Celebrating the Midwestern Table. Makes 8-10 small sandwiches.

Recipe from Abby Mandel