I admit it. If it can be fried, odds are I’ll fry it. I’ve already promised my mom to draw the line at frying butter, so don’t worry people. I won’t be installing a deep fryer here either.
Saturday night, I was the lone adult in the house, and while I had food for the kidlets covered, I’d completely forgotten about dinner for myself. So I looked up a couple recipes and winged fried mozzarella sticks. I learned a valuable lesson- when they mention that you can use a skillet, but need the oil to be able to cover the sticks… there’s a reason why. Mine weren’t perfect, but they were good.
Also over the weekend, I’d been chatting with my friend Bryan about my upcoming trip to Vegas. He sent me a link to the Tropicana’s website, so that I could see their updated decor and that’s when I saw this beauty…
Lamb tacos, using fried eggplant for the shell! I have no real idea how big they are, but I was immediately thinking of making an Italian version, with a meat sauce inside the shell.
At the store today, we picked up an eggplant, but as soon as I started to slice into it I realized that those would be some tiny tiny tacos. So I decided to simply go with fried eggplant…
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free)
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
Before you even think of heating the oil, set up your dredging stations. You’ll need three pans, as well as a papertowel covered wire rack for your eggplant to wait before being fried.
In the first plate, pour out your cornstarch. I think it was about 1 cup. Spread it into a nice flat layer. In the second plate, crack your two eggs and whisk until they’re nicely mixed up. Season with a good pinch of salt. In the third plate, mix the breadcrumbs and dried basil, and season with pepper (and any other seasonings you want. Garlic powder? Cayenne pepper?).
Now, pour the oil into a heavy bottomed skillet (about 1″ deep) and heat the oil over medium until it gets up to about 375.
Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.
While you’re waiting for the oil to come to temperature, start dredging. Coat the eggplant first in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Then put it in the egg, and use a fork to flip it over to make sure it’s coated thoroughly in the egg. From there, drop it with one hand into the breadcrumbs and use another fork to make sure it gets covered in breadcrumbs. When a slice is done, put it on the paper towel lined wire rack and move on to the next one. (Tip: try to keep one hand for using the cornstarch plate and another for once it’s wet- it’ll make things a lot less gunky) Finish them all before you start frying.
Put 2 eggplant into the oil, and when the bottom is golden brown, flip it over using tongs (it won’t take very long, probably about a minute). Move to a paper towel lined plate when the second side is done, and repeat until done. Avoid the temptation to crowd the pan – any more than two pieces at a time, and it’ll cause your oil to drop in temperature and you’ll wind up with greasy eggplant. But really, it goes so quickly that it won’t take you long at all to work in batches of two.
You can have it as a meal or as an appetizer, topped/dipped with/in your favorite marinara sauce.