Let’s face it… There are not too many people in this world who are fans of eggplant, and I’ll be the first to admit and I am surely among that group. But for some reason from time to time, I seem to find myself staring down that beautiful purple skinned monster in my crisper, thinking to myself, “how am I going to conquer you for dinner tonight?” Well ladies and gentlemen, I think I finally did it! Ok, so maybe it’s not world domination (that is still planned into my future) but it is a step in the right direction. Since I can’t seem to keep this thick skinned, delicate inside, minimally tasting veggie out of my house, I was determined to find a way to cook it that would please my taste buds and have me coming back for more. And so comes about Eggplant Fries!
WARNING: if you are looking for a recipe to replace those fast food chain, sugar soaked, hydrogenated oil drenched, not an ounce of nutritional value excuses of a vegetable they serve to you in the fast lane that keep you craving more (aka fast food french fries), these ARE NOT the replacement. BUT if you have found yourself in a similar boat as me, looking for a way to cook eggplant that won’t make you wince every time you eat it, then this may just be the recipe for you.
Although this recipe is extremely tasty, it is a little difficult to make. The eggplant tends to want to get mushy so you can’t take short cuts and you have to pay attention while your cooking. So just make sure the wine bottle is set aside, so you won’t get distracted. There are 2 ways to make these “fries.” You can either bake them for fry them in bacon grease on the oven. My preference is bacon grease (for blatantly obvious reasons), but the baked version is slightly easier and just as good, but can get a little soft on the inside.
I’m still playing around with this recipe, so if you find variations that you enjoy, please post them below. Let me know how they turned out for you. Happy eating!
THE GOOD STUFF (for the fries):
- 1 eggplant
- 1/3 cup ground flax
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/3 cup of parm (yes, I know this keeps it from being totally paleo, but look at the vegetable we are working with… you have to give me a little bit of slack on this one.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons garlic powder
- Olive Oil or Egg Whites
- Bacon Grease (if you are frying them)
THE HOW TO:
- De-skin your eggplant and throw the skins in the compost. And if you don’t have a compost, at least get a worm tea composter like this one from Jolly Green Florida. These things are awesome and your plants will love the “tea.” You can thank me later, when all of a sudden your flora is flourishing and everyone assumes it’s your amazing green thumb.
- Slice up your eggplant into “fries” and place them in an ice bath. Once they are all sliced, place them in the fridge (ice bath and all).
- LEAVE THEM IN THE FRIDGE for at least 3 hours. They need to be cold in order not to get too mushy on the inside.
- When ready, if you are going to bake them, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. If frying, pour bacon grease in a pan on the stovetop covering about 1/4 inch of the bottom of the pan with grease. I pour off the bacon grease from cooking bacon every time in a glass jar and store it in my pantry.
- If baking: Pour all of your dry ingredients in a large ziplock bag and shake.
- In a bowl, whip the egg whites.
- Completely dry your eggplant strips, coat them in the egg whites then toss them, a couple at a time in the ziplock baggie and give them a good shake.
- Set a wire cooling rack on a cookie sheet and place your fries on top making sure they don’t touch.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- If Frying: Heat your bacon grease before you pull out the fries from the fridge. Here’s the tricky part. You want to test your grease by tossing a drop of water in the pan. If it spatters, it’s ready. If your grease starts smoking, you are burning it. For my stovetop, I turn the heat to medium until it gets hot then turn it down just a little.
- Pour all of your dry ingredients in a ziplock bag and shake, and a little bit of olive oil in a bowl.
- Dry the eggplant fries and lightly oil them then toss a couple at a time in the ziplock bag and give a good shake to coat.
- Place them in the grease. when the batter starts to brown, flip them to the other side to finish. Pull out of the grease and place on paper towels to dry.
You’ll need mayonnaise (unless you make your own paleo version), juice from 1/2 a lemon & dill. Mix the lemon juice with the mayo until you get a preferred consistency. I like mine a little on the runnier side. Then add dill until you reach the flavor you like. I usually add about 1.5 tablespoons. I LOVE dill! Dip you fries and enjoy.