Crispy, ‘Fry-Baked’ Eggplant
Recipe by Mary Lee Harrington
I select firm, but ripe large eggplant to make this dish. The secret is not so much in the sauce, but in frying the eggplant first in a flour and egg mixture and then baking it. I only use Parmesan cheese, no other type of cheese. You want to enjoy the taste of the eggplant. Buon appetito!
1 ½ cups flour
2- jars of Bertolli Vineyard Marinara sauce or
Tomato and Basil
|Dried oregano and basil
Parmesan Reggiano cheese
Corn oil for frying
- Wash and peel eggplant and cut off ends. I like to stripe mine and leave some peel on, but not necessary to do that.
- Slice eggplant about ½ inch thick and lay out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. You should have about 18 large pieces and 9 small pieces. Lightly salt the eggplant to bring out excess moisture and let stand for 15 minutes. Blot with paper towels.
- In a dish or bowl, beat eggs with a small amount of water and put the flour on a large plate.
- Heat 1 ¼ cups of oil in a skillet until it reaches frying temperature. You might have to change the oil once if it gets too dark to continue.
- Very important: Dip the eggplant in the flour first, then in the egg mixture and put several pieces into the hot oil. Sprinkle with both oregano and basil. Cook about 5 minutes and then turn and cook another 5 minutes. Do not let it burn.
- Drain on paper towels and continue to cook the remainder in small batches.
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 10×15 glass baking dish with Pam and cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Lay 6 large eggplant and 3 small pieces on first layer, cover with more sauce and parmesan cheese. Continue with 9 more eggplant, sauce and cheese for two more layers.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350 for one hour. Cooking time will vary especially if the dish comes from the refrigerator.
Wine pairing: Sangiovese-based Chianti Classico is a No. 1 pick, but we tried it with a fruity and dry Torcicoda Primitivo Salento from Puglia and it was excellent. The savory, crispy eggplant and fruity Primitivo went hand and glove with crusty ciabatta bread and garden salad..