Garnishes: lemon wedges, thyme sprigs, red pepper strips
How to Make It
Drain crabmeat, removing any bits of shell or cartilage; set aside.
Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle with salt. Place, cut side down, in a 9- x 13-inch baking pan; add 1 cup water.
Bake, covered, at 400° for 40 minutes or until tender; set aside.
Sauté onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil in a large non-stick skillet 5 minutes or until tender. Add 1/4 cup wine, celery, and next 3 ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside.
Spoon pulp from eggplant, discarding peel. Pulse eggplant and vegetable mixture in a food processor 4 times or until coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet. Add 1 pound crabmeat and remaining wine; bring to a boil. Add eggplant mixture, pepperoncini, salt, and pepper, tossing gently. Remove from heat and cool. Add 1 cup bread crumbs and cheese; toss gently.
Shape into 8 (3 1/2-inch) patties; dredge in remaining bread crumbs.
Cook 4 patties in 1 1/2 teaspoons hot oil in a large skillet 3 to 4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and patties. Serve with remaining crabmeat. Garnish, if desired.
*Note: Softbread crumbs are made by placing bread slices in a food processor or blender processing. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week or up to six months in freezer.