Crispy Eggplant is a Snap

Sherrel Jones shares a simple recipe for crispy eggplant.
BY SHERREL JONES Published: August 29, 2012
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Alternatively, the rice flour or cornstarch coated slices can be placed in a large plastic bag then tossed with a sprinkling of olive or grape seed oil to cover the coating. Place the slices on a parchment covered baking sheet like eggplant “cookies.” Sprinkle with a little Italian seasoning. Bake on the upper rack of a 375-degree oven until the coating turns golden brown.

Thinner is crispier

The thinner the slice, the crispier it will become. Remove from the oven and serve warm or incorporate into other dishes.

Crispy eggplant chips can be made by slicing the eggplant about quarter-inch thick and slowly drying them in a low oven (175 to 200 degrees). Check them often to be sure they don't get too brown.

Crispy eggplant makes a great appetizer or snack served warm with a sauce or my favorite jelly with a “kick.”

Of course, it also can be served with your own ranch dressing, homemade or purchased marinara sauce, homemade or Oklahoma salsa, or my favorite accompaniment: Suan's Scotch Bonnet Pepper Jelly. I am not kidding — just spoon a little onto a crispy eggplant slice and savor. This made right here in Oklahoma jelly is absolutely yummy on oven-roasted salmon or chicken ... but that's another column.


Crispy Eggplant

One medium-size eggplant will make four appetizer servings or two generous sides.

1 medium eggplant sliced up to 1/2 inch thick rounds

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup rice flour

1 egg white beaten until frothy

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 to 1/2 cup grape-seed oil

Slice eggplant and lightly sprinkle with salt. Let stand on paper towels while the remaining ingredients are prepared. Place rice flour in small bowl or plate. In another small bowl, beat egg white until frothy. Place panko in another small bowl.

Once eggplant begins to moisture, place it in bowl with rice flour, turning it to coat on all sides. Then transfer the slice to the egg white again coating both sides. Finally, press each slice into the panko to embed the crumbs into the surface. The flour or starch and egg white mixture will serve as a glue for the crumbs. Together they will make a crisp coating that adheres to the eggplant when sauteed.

Heat the grape-seed oil in a skillet over medium heat, then saute slices on each side in the oil until golden brown. This takes 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Eggplant should sizzle gently as it is placed in the oil. Do not crowd the skillet. Remove to paper toweling to collect any excess oil and serve warm with or without a sauce.

Cook's notes: These slices can be used to top chicken or veal cutlets with a little marinara sauce and a bit of provolone cheese. They can be served as an appetizer with a garnish of ranch dressing. They can be incorporated into lasagna or a sandwich. Try them with salsa or a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Source: Sherrel Jones

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