Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Hate Eggplant? Try This Eggplant Recipe

August 28th, 2013 · 12 Comments · Recipes

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

After a disastrous eggplant recipe that featured the new-to-me vegetable in a slow cooker lasagna – one of the few meals in the history of our marriage that my husband reminded me we simply did not eat and even gave away the leftovers – I avoided eggplant like the plague for years.

We got a few tiny eggplants in our CSA box last summer, and I ignored each one in the fridge for a few weeks before guiltily included it, finely chopped, into various stir fries, soups and casseroles, just to get rid of them. They even got a mention in my eBook Better Than a Box as I described that process.

That’s why when I brought home a rather large eggplant from the Farmer’s Market last week, my husband raised his eyebrows.

“What’s that?” he asked indignantly.

Eggplant,” I meekly squeaked. “I couldn’t help it – they were so pretty, and so cheap! 33 cents!”

I have an impulse control problem like that, but luckily it seems to exclusively kick in at the Farmer’s Market.

Now What to do with the Eggplant?

eggplant recipe

(photo source)

It’s a problem I run into more often than you’d think – I have this vegetable in my crisper drawer, now what?

After a little help from the KS Facebook community, I gave eggplant a shot, and not as a hidden, finely chopped part of a larger dish.

Oh, no.

I went all the way to an eggplant-centric side dish, surprising everyone.

I held out a piece toward my husband, saying, “Try this.”

(This also happens more than one would think, and he’s understandably skeptical, but a very good sport.)

He tasted.

“Hmmm.

What is it?”

“It’s better than you’d expect, isn’t it?” I crowed gleefully.

“Well, I think so. It’s not bad. But…what is it?”

“EGGPLANT.”

*Eyebrows raised.*

Yes. Now I really am surprised…”

Want the secret?

Eggplant Recipe for People who don’t like Eggplant

Eggplant Recipe for People who Hate Eggplant

Scroll down past the pictures for a condensed, printable version.

Step one: Wash and slice the eggplant very thinly. I didn’t use a mandoline, and I don’t know that you’d want quite paper thin slices, but about 1/8-inch should be perfect.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step two: Salt the eggplant slices generously (at least 1/4 tsp.)  and allow to sit for 30 minutes. I did it in layers in a bowl, salting each layer like this:

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step three: After the 30 minutes, liquid will have been drawn out of the eggplant, and with it, any bitter taste (and yucky taste!) from the vegetable:

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Pour that off and preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle. My newest favorite cooking gadget is my huge cast iron griddle (here on Amazon) but that I got at Mighty Nest, where they’re giving 15% of your purchase back to your elementary schools right now (use code “stewardship” for 10% off!).

Step four: Grease the surface, and over medium-low heat, lay out a single layer of the eggplant slices.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step five: Brush the top side lightly with extra virgin olive oil.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step six: When the underside is browning like this after about 2-3 minutes, flip each slice:

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step seven: Using a microplane grater, get as much finely shredded Parmesan cheese as you can on top of each slice. Don’t worry if a bunch gets on the cooking surface.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Step eight: Continue cooking until the bottom browns and the cheese is melted, another 2-3 minutes.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Remove to a plate and eat warm. Don’t tell people what they’re eating if they hate eggplant.

Parmesan Fried Eggplant Recipe

Printable Version: Eggplant Side Dish Recipe

Parmesan Fried Eggplant
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 large eggplant
  • Real Salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Wash and slice the eggplant very thinly, about ⅛" each.
  2. Salt the eggplant slices generously and allow to sit for 30 minutes. (Use at least ¼ tsp. salt for a large eggplant, if not more. Open your shaker up to the "big holes!")
  3. Pour the liquid off and preheat a large cast iron skillet or griddle to medium low.
  4. Grease the surface and lay out a single layer of the eggplant slices.
  5. Brush the top side lightly with extra virgin olive oil.
  6. When the underside is browning lightly after about 2-3 minutes, flip each slice.
  7. Using a microplane grater, shred as much Parmesan cheese as you can on top of each slice.
  8. Continue cooking until the bottom browns and the cheese is melted, another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Remove to a plate and serve warm. Don't tell people what they're eating if they hate eggplant.
Notes
* I recommend making this dish only with very fresh eggplant. * Do not skip the salting/waiting part!

Harness that local, fresh produce for as long as you can! Here are some other favorite summer produce recipes:

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12 Comments so far ↓

  • Tammy

    I learned recently that the “male” eggplant has fewer seeds but is far more bitter than the “female” eggplant. I learned that you can discern the difference by looking at the bottom of them. If it has a very small spot where the flower was attached, it is a male. If it has a larger spot, it is a female. It does make a difference in flavor and how much one has to do to overcome the bitterness.

  • Kate @ Sustainable Princess

    We have lactose problems here. I wonder if we could use nutritional yeast or something. We also have some non-eggplant lovers here and there’s only so much ratatouille a person can eat, right?!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kate,
    Worth a try! It’s the salting/draining that helps the most, I think. I’d try coating them in egg and seasoned breadcrumbs instead of cheese, too. :) Katie

  • Laura

    I’ll try this when the eggplant inevitably comes in my CSA. Last year I tried frying it, as I figured everything tastes good fried, but it was still gross.

  • Karen Yocum

    So, you just “drain” the eggplant after the 30 minutes, or actually rinse it off?

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    I didn’t rinse it, Karen, but I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt. I would just add some more salt for the finished dish then. :) katie

  • Rebecca C

    You can actually do the salting process for much longer, even overnight. I leave it for at least two hours. Then I SQUEEZE what feels like gallons of water out of the eggplant slices. The liquid is what holds the bitterness.

    Another thing I like to do, after the salting and squeezing, toss slices with liberal amount of red wine vinegar and let soak for about an hour or so. Then put some slices in a jar, layer in some basil, some garlic cloves crushed, more eggplant, etc. Then top the whole thing off with olive oil to completely cover and store in the fridge. You can use them in almost anything: pasta salad, sandwiches, wraps, even some type of Italian casserole, or just eat them out of the jar. That’s what I do. I am glad to have a new recipe though. I think the baked slices would be really good in a lasagna.

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Rebecca,
    Funny, the second time I did it, I left them salted for 90 minutes or more, and I thought they didn’t taste as good. ??? Do you leave them on the counter the whole time?

    Thanks for sharing your recipe! :) Katie

    Rebecca C Reply:

    I will say that the more you squeeze and the longer you leave them salted, they kind of become more of a blank canvas. they lose the bitterness, and maybe some of the eggplant taste too. I guess it depends on how you plan to use them. Honestly if it is just for myself, I sometimes don’t salt if I am impatient, because I don’t really mind the bitterness. I will just bake a few slices for my sandwich every now and again.

  • Carol C

    Last month on Mission Trip with my church, my group of teens got to work at a food pantry. The eggplant was just coming in and the head chef taught us how to make eggplant Parmesan. None of us had ever had it, and that was the best eggplant I have ever had. Slice eggplant 1/4″, dredge in flour, then in an egg/water wash, then Italian bread crumbs, then bake 350 for 15 min., flip and bake 10 more min. Use it instead of noodles in a lasagne recipe. WONDERFUL!

  • Brittany

    I’m excited to try this. Eggplant is the outcast veggie at our house too. My secret to dealing with picky eaters is: if they don’t like a veggie, try preparing it differently. Broccoli was a hated veggie (by a few kiddos) until they met broccoi salad. Now they will fight over who gets the leftovers. Hopefully the same will go with this new way to make eggplant!! :)

  • Sheila

    Well, I like eggplant. Don’t really like the slimy texture you sometimes get. But I finally figured out that it’s only slimy because of all the liquid in it (zucchini is the same). The best eggplant I ever made was also the dryest. I had sliced and salted the whole thing, but only used half, so I wrapped the other half in a tea towel and put it in the fridge. A few days later I took it out to find it was slightly dessicated, but when I fried it up it just soaked up all the oil and was AMAZING. Like mushrooms.

    I wonder what an hour or two in your dehydrator would do?

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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