Thoughts on the Versatile Eggplant

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Fried Eggplant

Years ago, eggplant never made it as one of my top ten vegetables for several reasons. Leftovers can be bitter when eaten after a day or two and it is messy to bread and fry the eggplant. Fortunately, I discovered several pieces of information years ago which pushed it to my top ten list. First, if you peal the eggplant and only cut off the pieces that will immediately go into the milk and egg mixture, you can prevent that ugly gray color and the breaded and fried vegetable is sweet and never develops that bitter flavor.

That first discovery lead to the second which is you can fry a couple eggplants at the same time and use it as a side dish one day and then preparing a tray of Eggplant Parmesan which can be held for future use in either the refrigerator or freezer. This is a perfect meat to prepare ahead, clean up the mess and then bake and serve for company in a day or two if refrigerated, and up to a couple of months, if frozen. So even though preparing breaded fried eggplant is messy, the one clean-up can create sever meals.

I also discovered that my children love the breaded fried eggplant ans they used to sneak up on their mother and steal pieces while she was cooking them for Eggplant Parmesan . I have to admit that she and I were just as bad so instead of yelling at the kids, she would just cook more than needed because it’s not the cooking that’s an aggravation, it’s the clean-up of the mess. When I operated a restaurant in St. Croix, I discovered that West Indians also eat fried and breaded eggplant as an appetizer or side dish, however they customarily cut them in to sticks about the size of fish sticks instead of discs like the Italians.

So for one clean up I actually made thee meals. After frying all the eggplant I set some aside to use as a side dish with lunch and set some aside to be used for Eggplant Parmesan. I also made a tray of Eggplant Parmesan and froze it for when my niece comes at the end of the month. Since the Eggplant Parmesan has too many pictures for a reasonably sized post, I have split the post in half. The first half shows the breaded fried eggplant and the second will show the Eggplant Parmesan.

These meals are a tribute to my Mother-in-law, Anne Cocozza Hill, who died yesterday at 103 years old. She was a great Italian cook who loved to cook for me because I loved to eat her food. She inspired both my wife and I to learn to cook real Italian, Naples Style, and she served everything from brains and sweet breads to liver and pigs feet. And Honest to God, it was all Great. In her kitchen, there was no vegetarian food and other food, it was all just food. Her Sister-in-law, Adel Cocozza was an equally good cook who focused more on seafood from eel to stuffed squid and it was all equally great. These meals are real Italian and they just happens to be vegetarian.

Ingredients:

1 Egg

1 cup Milk

1-2 Eggplant

Flour as needed

Olive Oil as needed

1-2 cloves Garlic

Method:

  1. To start Mix together one egg and one cup of milk. Mix with fork. Add another egg and another cup of milk as needed.

    Peal and slice the eggplant

  2. Peal the eggplant. Slice off pieces as needed and put into the milk/egg mixture.

    Soak slices in the egg and milk mixture.

  3. Cover the pan bottom with olive oil and put in garlic slices. Remove as they char and add fresh. Replenish oil and garlic as needed.
  4. Place flower on plate about ¼ to ½ inch deep. Place the eggplant from the milk/egg mixture on the flower and turn over until coated.Coat the eggplant with flour or bread crumbs
  5. Place in hot oil when garlic starts to sizzle.

    Cooking in Olive Oil

  6. Fry until golden brown.
  7. Serve as a side dish or appetizer or set aside to make Eggplant Parmesan.

When was the last time you had delicious fried eggplant?

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One Response to “Thoughts on the Versatile Eggplant”

  1. Poppa John Says:

    This is my third recipe selected by foodpress.com. They don’t seem to like the coffeepot cooking, pork or fried foods. Oh well, It’s all me.

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