In the poorer regions of Southern Italy, meatless meals are commonplace and eggplant is a favorite stand-in. A properly fried slice of eggplant cloaked in golden bread crumbs can be truly marvelous. Two caveats: first, find fresh, firm eggplants (without seedy centers) and, second, fry the slices gently in plenty of olive oil. For a warm antipasto, top small eggplant cutlets with a bit of fresh mozzarella and basil. For a more substantial dish, serve with a simple, bright tomato sauce.