This fried eggplant is made with a basic fritter batter seasoned with Italian-style seasonings. Garlic powder, an Italian herb blend, and a dash of cayenne are among the ingredients. The eggplant strips are soaked in salted water for about 30 minutes to an hour before they are fried.
Marinara, pizza sauce, or a basic spaghetti sauce are excellent sauces for dipping or use a tomato salsa or ranch dressing. You could change the seasonings to a Southwest or Tex-Mex blend as well.
See the tips and variations for a quick seasoning mixture.
- 1 medium eggplant
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning*
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- dash ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- vegetable oil for frying
Peel the eggplant; cut in strips about 1/2-inch wide and 3 inches in length. Place the eggplant strips in a large bowl, cover with water and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Place a small plate or saucer over the eggplant to hold it under the water. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour; drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, Italian seasoning, onion powder, cayenne, and garlic powder in a mixing bowl. Add beaten eggs, milk, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Beat with a whisk until smooth.
Heat oil over medium heat until hot. If deep-frying, heat to about 365 F.
Line a large bowl with paper towels.
Dip the dry eggplant strips in the batter. Let excess batter drip off; fry the eggplant strips in batches in hot oil until fried eggplant is golden brown.
With a slotted metal spoon, transfer the fried eggplant to the paper towel-lined bowl and shake gently so the paper towels can absorb excess oil from all sides. Sprinkle the hot eggplant strips with grated Parmesan cheese.
Repeat with the remaining eggplant strips and batter.
Serve eggplant strips with marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, or pizza sauce.
*You may substitute equal parts dried crumbled oregano, basil, marjoram, and rosemary for the Italian seasoning in the fried eggplant batter.
Tips and Variations
Southwest/Tex-Mex: Replace the Italian seasoning blend with 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon of paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with tomato or tomatillo salsa.
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