If you are an eggplant lover, who is looking for a delicious eggplant appetizer, with little added fat, then this is the recipe for you. You have to start by getting the bitterness out of the eggplants, and reducing their grease intake. This is called degorging. You slice them into 3/4 inch thick rounds (you will cut them into “fries” later-the sliced rounds make it is easier for them to get salted evenly), salt them generously, let them sit for at least an hour in a colander in the sink, or put a bowl under colander, and they will “sweat” (release a dark liquid), then you will slice them into “fries”. You will need lots of room in a very large-flat-baking pan, or even two baking pans, to be able to place the eggplants in a single layer. (I use a long chafing pan, but you can also us those long aluminum throw away pans, or 2 half-pans, or (2) 13×9 pans). My recipe for The Simply Homemade Spaghetti Sauce compliments this dish very well as a thick and hearty dip for your eggplant. This recipe serves 4-6 people as a generous size appetizer, maybe more, depending on how big your eggplants are. Here we go……
Step 1- salt your eggplants and let sit for an hour
2 large eggplants
salt to soak eggplants
Slice eggplants into 3/4 inch thick slices, and salt generously on both sides. Let sit in colander in the sink for about an hour, or place colander on top of a bowl to capture the liquid that will be released from the eggplant. Rinse eggplants, and slice into “fries”. Place back into colander to get ready for next step.
Step 2- make your batter (you will need 2 large bowls, or 2 gallon size plastic bags), and prepare your fries
2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
2 eggs with 2 tablespoons water, beaten
Place all dry ingredients into one bowl or bag and mix well, and place your eggs with water into another bowl or bag. Dip all eggplants into egg mixture first, and make sure the whole piece is covered (if using a bag, you can release the extra egg mixture not used by placing a hole in the bottom of the bag and letting the liquid drip out, otherwise, do your best to strain as much of the egg mixture off of the eggplant before dipping them into the batter). Next, drop your eggplants into your dry ingredients and cover well (if in a bowl, toss around with a dry hand, if in a bag, shake gently until all pieces are coated).
Step 3- arranging and baking your fries
1 large long pan, or 2 smaller half-pans, or (2) 13×9 pans (make sure pans used are to ensure even oil distribution)
Non stick.cooking spray
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
parmesan cheese for sprinkling on fries once baked and cooled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray your pans with non stick cooking spray. Evenly coat your pan with 6 tablespoons oil. Arrange all of your battered eggplant fries into your pan(s) in a single layer, trying to not have them touch to give them room to cook. Evenly spray top of all fries with non stick cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, for about 40-50 minutes, or longer, depending on your oven. (You are looking to achieve a lovely toasty-looking, crispy texture. I reset my timer and re-check them every 5 minutes until the color and texture is achieved that I am looking for, just like in the pictures that I posted here). Once done, remove from heat, and let cool. Transfer to a plate or platter, and sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.
Step 4- prepare 1 serving of my The Simply Home Made Spaghetti Sauce to use for dipping
Serve your cooled fries, with some warm sauce for dipping, and enjoy !!!!!!