Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recipe: Eggplant Fries

Eggplant Fries with Grilled Lamb Sausage and Zucchini
This is a recipe that I am definitely adding to my summer side dish rotation. With eggplant, I usually make baba ghanoush or caponata, and or simply grill it, topped with tomatoes or yogurt sauce. But the idea of making fries intrigued me, so I decided to do a little Tuesday evening dinner experimentation. Soaking the eggplant in ice water was a new technique for me (I usually salt and drain) and I wanted to see if eggplant, which usually soaks up oil like crazy, could function as a workable fry.

These are good. Really good. The exterior is really crisp, and the interior very creamy. It was a weeknight surprise. I served them with a harissa yogurt sauce (and a little sriracha mayo when we ran out of yogurt sauce but were still munching on fries) , sauteed zucchini and tomato, and a grilled lamb sausage (I used za’atar in the flour coating for a middle eastern touch), but these would be great as a side to a burger, falafel, a gyro, or anything Italian. depending on your seasoning.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2" rounds, then into 1/2"-thick strips
Vegetable oil (for frying)
1 cup rice flour (I used King Arthur’s brown rice flour)
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons za'atar (you could use curry, dried oregano, etc. – many things would work here)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt plus more for seasoning

Place eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 cups ice and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of eggplant to weigh it down. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
Pour oil into a large deep pot to a depth of 2". Heat oil until it sizzles when a drop of water is added.

Meanwhile, whisk rice flour, lemon zest, za'atar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl to blend. Drain eggplant. Working in batches, toss damp eggplant in flour mixture to coat.
Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch, making sure to maintain the heat of the oil between batches. Don’t overcrowd the eggplant. Drain fries on paper towels, and sprinkle with salt (and any other flavorings you fancy).

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