Slender strips of eggplant are coated in a spicy mix and baked until deliciously golden and creamy on the inside and served with a tangy goat cheese dip.
Like beets, people have strong opinions about eggplant.
I think of eggplants as the gluttons of the vegetable world, greedily soaking up every drop of oil or fat they come in contact with and demanding more. If you’ve ever tried to fry it I’m sure you know the game; you start with a generous amount of fat, but the pan is mysteriously dry within seconds, leaving you with little option other than dousing the whole thing in an oil slick or having dry, burnt eggplant.
Although a member of the nightshade family along with tomatoes and potatoes, it’s quite unlike any other vegetable with its taunt, shiny skin hiding a spongy and often seedy interior. While the large dark purple globe is the most familiar variety (and plagued with a reputation for bitterness and seediness), it comes in a range of colors and shapes from small round ones, to long slender Japanese varieties and even white and green ones.
Regardless of which you choose, eggplant fries are my answer to the oil dilemma. I’m not talking deep-fried fries, with inches of scalding hot oil, but an oven-baked version served with a tangy goat cheese dip on the side.
Making eggplant “fries” is really mainly an assembly job. Cut into thin lengths they get a double coating of almond flour with brief dip in a spicy egg mixture. The heat of the oven transforms the eggplant and the fries emerge lightly golden with deliciously creamy insides.
Cumin, coriander and cayenne pepper gives the fries a bit of heat which is tempered by the cool, slightly tart goat cheese dip on the side. Serve them hot, straight from the oven as a starter or with drinks.
Have you ever made eggplant fries? How do you like to make eggplant?
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