Fried eggplant strips make a delicious side dish and they're a nice alternative to French fries. These eggplant strips are coated with a seasoned cornmeal coating and then deep fried to perfection. Parmesan cheese flavors these tasty snacks.
The eggplant — or aubergine in many other countries, including Britain and France — is a fruit related to the tomato, potato, and bell pepper. Eggplant is often stewed or roasted, and it is the main ingredients in the Italian eggplant Parmesan.
Serve these fried eggplant strips with your favorite marinara sauce, a prepared pizza sauce, aioli, or tomato salsa.
Battered Fried Eggplant Strips
- 1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
- 1 teaspoon salt (table salt)
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil (such as peanut oil or canola, or amount needed for frying)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated fresh)
- Peel the eggplant using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. Cut the eggplant into strips about 2-by-3/4-inches. Sprinkle the eggplant strips with salt and let them stand for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200° F (93° C). Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- In a deep fryer or a deep medium saucepan heat about 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil to 370° F (188° C).
- In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pat the eggplant with paper towels to blot up excess moisture, then toss in the cornmeal mixture.
- Working in small batches, fry the eggplant strips until golden brown, turning them as they cook. Transfer to paper towels to drain, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Transfer to the rack on the baking pan and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining eggplant.
- Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
- Serve with marinara sauce, a seasoned aioli, or tomato salsa.
- Choose an eggplant that is firm and feels heavy for its size, and is free from deep dents, scars, and wrinkles.
- The cap and stem of a fresh eggplant should be green.
- Long, slender eggplants are thought to be less juicy and better for frying.
- Don't crowd eggplant in the fryer. Fry small batches that will allow some space between pieces. Small batches also help to keep the oil at temperature with quicker recovery after the food is added.
- If you don't have an electric deep fryer, a wok or deep skillet works well. You'll use less oil and have more surface area for the food.
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