If there's a vegetable that failed in my house growing up, it's eggplant. My Dad tried so hard to make eggplant happen during the occasional meal and inevitably, one of three things would happen: 1. Eggplant rots. 2. Eggplant turns spongy and everyone hides it under other food. 3. Eggplant gets fried. And as they say in Mean Girls "Stop trying to make eggplant happen. It's not going to happen". Or something like that.
But now that, again, the CSA box has landed me with a challenge, I needed to find a way to make eggplant work before it became passé. I know there are some roasted dips that work (I've even made them for the blog before ages ago. And I've stuffed it. ), but I needed something on the safer side, guaranteed to be finished. Instead of frying it, I baked it for way less fat and served with a hearty tomato sauce and fresh basil. And it's all gone.
Skinny 'Fried' Eggplant Bites
- 1 small, young eggplant
- brown rice flour [although any flour would work]
- 1 egg
- Italian breadcrumbs
- olive oil
Wash eggplant and slice lengthwise to create strips. Slices should be roughly 1/4 inch thick. Lightly salt slices and leave in a colander in the sink to remove excess water from the eggplant. Toss. Set up your breading station with three bowls. In one bowl, add brown rice flour [or flour of choice]. In the next bowl, whisk an egg. In the third bowl, add breadcrumbs. Dredge each slice in the three stations: first the brown rice flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Place on a silpat and top with a bit of oil. Bake at 400 until the outer layer is golden brown and crisp. Serve with tomato sauce and fresh herbs.
Some notes about this recipe:
- Don't be lazy. Slice thinly or you'll have rubbery eggplant in a nice crisp shell.
- Do salt the slices to remove excess moisture. This helps, again, create a crisp product without deep frying.
- I like to serve it with tomato sauce because I like the acidity paired with a 'faux fried' product. We tried it with pesto, but no go. Pick a 'bright' sauce.
- I used brown rice flour because I like how light it is and the crisp shell it makes. Also, because I had it in my freezer after a recipe development project. You can easily make this 100% gluten free by pairing with GF breadcrumbs.
- You can totally freeze these for later. After breading, before baking, freeze them on a baking tray and then store them.
Do you like eggplant? What do you do with it?
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.