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Not-fried eggplant

I love appetizers and finger foods. When I'm feeling fancy, I like hors d'oeuvres. And I love having them for dinner. It feels slightly scandalous to eat a plate of party food all by myself. I think it's one of those "I'm a grown up and can do what I want" moments that I'm still hanging on to.

Over at Joyful Abode, I found a recipe for Eggplant Dipping Sticks. I decided to give it a test drive because I've got a dozen Japanese eggplants in my back yard that are just about ready to be harvested.

The test was a success, but before I share my results... here's the recipe.

Eggplant Dipping Sticks

  • 1 large eggplant, or 4 ichiban eggplants (they’re long and skinny)
  • 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Preheat your broiler and wash your eggplants. Cut them into little french-fry like wedges and then salt them with Kosher salt to draw out the bitter juices. Toast the wheat germ in a pan and then mix with breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt while the heat is still on low. Rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat dry. Then dip each stick into the beaten eggs, and roll in the breadcrumb/wheat germ mixture. Place on a cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray. Now broil for about 3 minutes, flip, and broil another 3 minutes or until they’re crispy.

Because my ichiban eggplants aren't quite ripe, I tested this out on a large eggplant. Instead of fussing with cutting it into sticks, I sliced it into rounds and the quartered the rounds. I stayed pretty faithful to the recipe after that, but I did end up leaving them under the broiler for quite a bit longer than three minutes. I put a little jarred tomato and artichoke bruschetta topping on the eggplant to finish them off. Just add wine and it's a meal.

I'll be trying this one again as soon as my crop is ready for harvesting. I think I'll change things up by using plain bread crumbs, or panko bread crumbs and making my own seasoning mix. Maybe this time I'll even invite people over and serve them as appetizers instead of keeping them all to myself. Maybe.