At the farmer's market stand, my friend and I couldn't help but snicker as we perused the eggplant selection. (Aubergines, for my international friends.)
I asked the lady at the counter if this was a particular variety of the fruit... I'd never seen them quite like this before.
"No," she replied, "they get like that when there's a cold snap."
Well I had to buy one, of course. Here's my little feller, complete with a crooked nose.
He spent some time in the fridge while I wondered how to cook him. So lunch it is! And what better way to use this particular eggplant than for fries?
I skinned him and sliced him into traditional french fry sticks, and fried them in oil set at 350*F in my wonderful electric skillet. I discovered a few things:
- Eggplant tends to be rather floppy even after frying. So they must be dredged in flour before hitting the oil. And flouring more than doubles the frying time, but the result is a slightly crisper fry.
- You must fry in batches. Don't crowd the eggplant fries!
- Between batches, let the oil come back up to full temperature for best frying results.
- I should have salted the eggplant sticks before coating and frying. There was a distinct bitterness... which was okay, and certainly covered by the dipping sauce, but there nonetheless.
- And last, the more uniform the shape, the better the result.
After my fries emerged from the fat (vegetable oil, of course), I let them dry on paper towels for a few minutes, then dusted with grated parmesan cheese (yes, my favorite cheapo kind in the green can) and served with ranch dressing, made from a packet mix, and instead of using sour cream I used cottage cheese (16oz), blended smooth and thinned with a little half-and-half.
What a delicious treat! Low carb without the flour coating, and minimum carbs with, it was a healthy lunch for me. Next time I'll try using soy, chickpea, or an alternative flour for dredging.
And as for my eggplant's appendage? It was less bitter than the rest of the fries, believe it or not.