Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dry Fried Eggplant - November Secret Recipe Club

These past few weeks I have tried not to face the reality that our summer produce is coming to an end. I wait all winter for fresh veggies here on the farm, but when they finally arrive it seems like life also gets much busier.

This month's Secret Recipe Club selection had me thinking about what is still available. One of those items is eggplant.

It never fails, when I stop into the produce market to grab eggplant I am always stopped by someone wanting to know what I do with it. Maybe it has to do with the fact I buy it by the basketful? Who knows... The truth is I have so many ways to make/bake/puree/ and enjoy eggplant, but I am always looking for a new one.

You could say that while browsing through Lisa's blog, Cook Lisa Cook, I fell in love with it because of her use of Tapioca flour. From personal experience I know this is not a common pantry product. It is on hand in our home due to my children's PKU. They cannot have grains, meat, dairy, nuts or legumes. They do though, love eggplant!  Tapioca flour is low in protein and a great substitute for wheat flour. I was thrilled this month to pick a recipe, Dry Fried Eggplant, my children could enjoy with us.

Of course, Lisa's blog is full of many other great recipes besides the one I chose,  I also need to try her Baked Reuben Casserole as well as her recipe for Puerto Rican Eggnog. Be sure to check out all the delicious dish ideas on her blog!

For this recipe I used a small and tender Fairytale Eggplant. This is one of my favorites for the backyard garden, but this year my eggplant were all wiped out by my ravenous chickens. Thank goodness our eggplant plants are still producing on the farm. I tried this recipe earlier with some young Italian style eggplant, but the skins were tougher. So my suggestion is to go for a smaller variety.

Start by slicing the eggplant lengthwise to create the "fries".

This recipe doesn't use an eggwash, but instead just moistening the eggplant with a little water to help keep the tapioca flour sticking. This makes it a great "breaded" alternative if you need to avoid eggs and dairy.  All the seasoning is whisked up in the dredge and then fried till the eggplant is tender and the coating is crisp.

Serve immediately as tapioca flour tends to become soggy after a few minutes. We consumed ours as soon as we could handle them!

Dry Fried Eggplant
adapted from Cook Lisa Cook

You will need:
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1/2 tapioca flour (or more for coating)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. Szechuan Peppercorn flakes
  • 6 small style eggplant ( I used Fairy Tale), cut lengthwise
  • 1/4 c. flat leaf parsley, chopped

Pre heat cooking oil to 350 degrees. Prepare a tray lined with paper towels and a cooling rack to place cooked eggplant while cooling.

Whisk together the tapioca flour, paprika, Szechuan Peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt. Lightly moisten the eggplant sticks and then dredge in the flour mixture. 

Working in batches, fry the eggplant till cooked through and the outter breading is crisp, just a few minutes per side. When done, remove from the hot oil and place on the cooling rack. Sprinkle with additional Kosher salt while still hot. Serve with parsley and additional paprika and Szechuan Peppercorns, as desired.


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