Upper-crust ways with vegetables

The oven ― not oil ― is the way to low-fat, crispy perfection
ELAINE JOHNSON

Oven-Crusted Eggplant and Fennel Parmesan

Crunchy ratatoille

Crusted portabella burgers

If you've tried oven-frying chicken, you'll find this approach to vegetables very similar, right down to the minimal fat and munchy textures. Dip vegetables such as eggplant, fennel, peppers, and even big portabella mushrooms in oil-enriched egg whites, then in seasoned crumbs, and bake in the oven until crusty. It's neater than frying and less demanding of your attention.

The first dish is a tweaked version of eggplant parmesan with a fennel bonus. To get the most out of the crisp finish on the vegetables, add the sauce just as you serve. In the second recipe, oven-frying adds texture to the ingredients of the great French casserole, ratatouille. And the rendition of meatlike mushroom burgers gives them a crunchy mantle.