Top Chef, Season 2, Episode 10
Cut the eggplant, zucchini, and squash into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Cut the shallots lengthwise into quarters. Sprinkle the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and set aside for 1 hour.
In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, cornichons, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the cornstarch, and baking powder. Add the sparkling water and stir gently until just combined. Refrigerate the batter until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a large, heavy pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to 300 degrees. Hold a few sprigs of parsley in your fingers or with tongs and dip them into the batter, letting the excess drain off. Carefully lower the parsley into the hot oil and cook until crisp, about 5 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with salt while still warm. Put the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
Increase the heat and heat the oil to 350 degrees. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. One at a time, dip the vegetables in the batter, letting the excess drain off. Carefully lower the vegetables into the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables as they brown to the baking sheet in the oven. Sprinkle with salt while still warm. Repeat with the remaining vegetables.
Dredge the bocconcini in the remaining flour. Dip in the beaten eggs, then in the breadcrumbs. Fry for 30 seconds, or until browned. Sprinkle with salt while still hot.
Pile the fried parsley, vegetables, and bocconcini on a serving platter. Serve immediately with the cornichon mayonnaise.