Friday, September 5, 2008

Taste the Love: Fried Eggplant

When I was a kid, I didn't like sour cream, and I'd never tried eggplant. The very name made my nose wrinkle. Eggplant sounded gross.

I'm not alone for dismissing eggplant just on the basis of the name, according to The Kitchen Survival Guide.
Fried Eggplant

The only trouble with eggplant is its unfortunate name. If it were called purple melon or Fatima's Passion, then stores wouldn't be able to keep the bins stocked.

Eggplant has a mild, appealing taste. It can have a variety of appealing textures and shapes depending on how it is cooked, and it is economical. Hell, it's cheap. It lends itself to different cuisines, from Italian to Middle Eastern. Give it a try. As Mom would say, "Would I feed you something bad?"

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Can be made ahead? No.
Can be frozen? No.
Can be doubled? Yes. But don't crowd the slices in the frying pan. It's better to make in several batches.
Good for leftovers? A bit on the soggy side, but yes. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Eat cold, or add to a salad or the top of a baked potato or an omelet. Or reheat, wrapped in foil, in a oven or toaster oven, or in plastic in the microwave.

2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise (you want rounds) into 3/4-inch slices
Approximately 2/3 cup vegetable oil

Break the eggs into a shallow bowl, add the salt and pepper and beat briefly with a fork. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow pan or on a piece of waxed paper. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice in the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs. Continue until all the slices have been coated.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet and when it's hot, add a few slices of eggplant. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side over moderate heat until brown. Drain the slices on paper towels, then stack on a cookie sheet in a 250°F. oven to keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining slices, adding more oil as necessary, until all the eggplant is cooked.

The first time I ever tried eggplant, I realized how much tasty time I'd lost. I was on Long Island, and a friend got me a slice of pizza topped with very thin, very lovely fried eggplant. I was hooked.

Is eggplant more widely consumed in countries where it's called something less...eggy? Do Brits enjoy it more because it's "aubergine"?

I love that Lora Brody says "hell" in this recipe. Her recipe writing style makes The Kitchen Survival Guide more than just an okay purchase.

I must say, though, it took every bit of my self control to not change "a oven" to "an oven" when typing this out.

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