Friday, September 21, 2012

Simply Food: Fried Eggplant, Melanzane Fritti

Fig.1. Fried eggplant, or aubergine if you prefer.

Italian food is nothing if not simple.  I was reminded of that on a recent trip to Italy. The best food on the table was always the simple fare, the recipes that impress the palate rather than the eyes.  The unassuming dish that seeks only to serve it's purpose as sustenance fills not only the stomach, but the spirit as well, provided it can be appreciated for it's simple purpose. Amelia Barr said it best, "It is always the simple that produces the marvelous." And let's not forget simple food advocate Richard Olney, who said about food, "simple is the password in cooking today; if food is not simple, it is not good." As true today as it was in the early 70's, when Olney wrote these words in his book, Simple French Food.

Melanzane Fritti
Serves a lot

1 lbs Italian eggplant cut into 1/4" rounds (feel free to use other eggplants as well)
1 cup flour
2 large eggs, beaten
A good olive oil
Salt and pepper

Set a heavy bottom pan over medium heat and pour some olive oil in a pan until it reaches about 1/4" up the side of the pan
Dredge the eggplant in the flour, coating both sides. Shake off any excess flour and dip it in the egg mixture.  When your oil begins smoking, start adding the eggplant.  Cook until both sides are golden brown. Place the eggplant on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Recipe can easily be doubled.

Note: You can coat the eggplant in breadcrumbs after it's dipped in the egg thus creating another Italian staple, Melanzane impanade. After the eggplant is coated with the breadcrumbs follow the same procedure indicated above. I also like to add a couple of spoon fulls of butter to the olive oil for extra flavour.


Tosh said...

If I didn't know any better I want those right away for Eggplant Parmesan. Need recipe for "good" eggplant parmesan please. I want to see if it as time consuming as it tastes good. It is so much work!

The Hungry Italian said...

You can use this recipe for eggplant parm, but I would coat the eggplant in breadcrumbs after coating them in egg. You can also make eggplant parm with eggplant slices that have been fried without any coating what-so-ever. Just sprinkle the eggplant slices with S&P and fry in olive oil, then layer the eggplant just like you would a lasagna. I will be putting a recipe soon Tosh. My cousin in New York make an "eggplant parm" that's so good I need to share it.