I grew up eating fried eggplant. It was probably the first thing I ever cooked as a kid and is still one of my favorites. I have also tried the baking method for crispy eggplant. While it does get crispy and tastes decent, it just doesn't substitute for the fried version.
The classic combo for eggplant is with marinara. This one is actually with tomato bruschetta that is from Trader Joe's (I cheated). Their jarred Tomato Bruschetta tastes really fresh and has great flavors. I always like to keep a jar in the cabinet for quick appetizers when friends come over or when we go to a party.
Another great pairing for fried eggplant is apple sauce. It sounds a little weird weird, but give it a try.
- 1 eggplant cut crosswise into ½" slices
- 1 cup flour for dusting
- 1 egg + 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
- canola oil for frying
- your favorite tomato bruschetta or marinara sauce
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg and water to make an egg wash. Add the panko bread crumbs and flour to two separate shallow bowls (I usually season each with a little salt + pepper). Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, then dip in the egg wash and finally coat with the bread crumbs.
- Heat ¼" frying oil in a 12" cast iron skillet on high. When the oil is just beginning to smoke, add the eggplant slices and slightly lower the temperature (you might need to do two batches). Cook for about two to three minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and immediately season with salt.
- Plate them up with the tomato sauce and enjoy immediately.