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Eggplant is frequently found in French cooking (where it is called aubergine) and Italian cooking (melanzane). It is also well known in Romanian, Near-Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian recipes. Eggplant originates in Asia, quite unlike the other solenaceous vegetables (tomato, potato, bell pepper, chili pepper) that originated in the Americas.
If you think you don't like eggplant, try these recipes anyway. If you have indeed tasted eggplant and know you don't like it, try them. You might change your mind.
For best results, buy a firm eggplant that is shiny. The color should not show any brown. Yes, eggplant can be bitter; this is corrected through the use of salt to draw out the bitter juice, as indicated in the recipe.
I have never tried a white, yellow, or striped eggplant. The produce manager at our local market says they are somewhat bland. If you try one of these, reduce or omit the optional seasonings that might overwhelm the flavor of the eggplant.
This recipe is for a standard, purple eggplant. You can use thin Asian (also known as Japanese or Chinese) eggplants, but this recipe would then require 2-4 eggplants to get the same quantity. Instead of cubing the slices, slices of Asian eggplant might be left whole if small or halved if large. Although Asian eggplant is often cooked without peeling, they must be peeled for this recipe.
Note: All measurements are approximate.
Using a potato peeler, peel the eggplant. Cut off the stem and blossom ends.
Slice the eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Lay the slices on a double layer of paper towel, not touching or overlapping.
Generously salt the slices. Turn them over. Salt them again. Let stand for 30 minutes.
While the salted eggplant is standing, combine the bread crumbs and flour (and, if desired, garlic and chili powder) in a large Ziploc bag. Shake the bag to mix thoroughly.
Near the end of the 30 minutes, preheat the over to 350°. Thoroughly grease the cookie sheet with olive oil.
After the salted eggplant has stood for 30 minutes, rinse the salt off each slice individually under running water. Pat each slice dry with paper towel. (They will not be really dry, but they should not be dripping from being rinsed.) Cut the slices into cubes.
After the eggplant is completely cubed, put it into the Ziploc bag with the dry ingredients. This should be done all at once, not gradually as the slices are cubed. Seal the bag without eliminating any air. Coat the eggplant with the dry ingredients by shaking and tumbling the bag. Leave the eggplant in the bag for about 5 minutes.
Empty the breaded eggplant into a dry colander that is sitting in the sink. Shake the colander to remove loose breading.
Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
This should serve 2-3 as the only side-dish at dinner or 4-6 if there is another side-dish.
I normally use fresh garlic. This recipe requires garlic powder (if you want any garlic at all) because it must be dry and fine in the breading mixture. Having tried and enjoyed oven-fried eggplant, you might then experiment with other seasonings. Just be careful.
For an interesting flavor, you may replace 1 TBS each the flour and bread crumbs with 2 TBS of almond meal.
Updated 29 September 2013
An even better version — but requiring much more effort — involves applying the recipe for Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks to an eggplant.
9 November 2016
1 large or 2 small Asian eggplants
2 or 3 slices from a large onion
4 or 5 medium mushrooms
Peal the eggplant. Slice it crosswise into discs 1/8 or 1/4 inch thick. DO NOT salt them; it is not necessary for this recipe.
Cut the onion slices into medium chunks, not finely diced. Slice the mushrooms.
Lightly oil a large frying pan over a medium flame. Add the eggplant, onion, and mushrooms. Slowly stir the vegetables, turning them over. Continue sautéing until the onion and eggplant are browned.
Serve while still hot.
This recipe serves 2-3. If there are left-overs, reheat them in a dry frying pan over a medium flame.
22 September 2022
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