Chocolate Eggplant

Chocolate Covered Eggplant (Melanzane con la Cioccolata) -

- 3 lengthwise slices of a large eggplant, about 1/4-inch thick
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 150g sugar, plus some extra for dipping
- 100g 60% cacao baking chocolate, chopped into chunks
- 25g all-purpose flour
- 30g unsweetened cacao powder, plus some extra for dipping
- Cinnamon
- Amaretti cookies
- Sliced almonds
- Candied citrus peels (optional but highly recommended)

1. Pour enough vegetable oil into a shallow skillet to submerge the eggplant strips (about 1/2-inch).
2. Bring to a high temperature on the stovetop. To see when the oil is hot enough, simply drop in a small piece of eggplant. If the oil bubbles furiously, it's ready!
3. Being careful not to splash the oil, slide the eggplant slices into the pan and fry.
4. Turn over occasionally and remove onto a paper towel once the strips are soft and golden-brown.
5. Dab the finished eggplants dry with another paper towel and allow to cool.
6. In a mixing bowl, combine 25g flour with 30g cacao powder.
7. Gradually add 150g water while whisking until you have a smooth, even mixture.
8. In a small saucepan, add 150g sugar and 50g water.
9. Simmer over low heat on the stovetop until the sugar completely dissolves.
10. Add the baking chocolate chunks and stir until dissolved.
11. Now pour the flour/cacao powder mixture into the pot and whisk over low heat until the mixture thickens into a rich batter.
12. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
13. On a large plate, mix a layer of sugar and cacao powder in equal parts, plus a dusting of cinnamon to taste. You don't need much, just enough to "flour" the eggplant slices.
14. Coat each eggplant slice in the sugar/cacao/cinnamon mix, then dip in the chocolate batter.
15. Folding each slice in half, arrange the three pieces in slightly overlapping layers on a plate.
16. Top with crushed Amaretti cookies, sliced almonds and small pieces of candied citrus peels.

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