This Turkish method for frying eggplant is a little picky compared to the usual slapping it in the pan, but I think it has some definite advantages. The par-boiling means that the eggplant will be very soft and tender, and it is also not quite the sponge for oil that it is when it goes into the pan raw. Overall I don’t think the 2 cookings take longer than frying from raw either.
I did both cookings together, one after the other, and that was fine. Still, I want to try par-boiling the eggplant ahead of time, and just doing the dipping and frying part during the heat of the dinner battle.
I also think that I would like to try it with the slices dipped in breadcrumbs and finely grated Parmesan. I wonder how they would do laid on an oiled baking sheet and baked… lots to think about here.
The boiled eggplant became tender very quickly; about 5 minutes for me. Do watch it carefully, as if you boil it too long I am quite certain it will fall apart. It should just pierce nicely with a fork. I actually peeled the eggplant after I had boiled it, and while it worked quite well I could see that the eggplant could easily become too fragile for that to be a practical goal, so I suggest you peel it while it is raw.
30 minutes prep time
1 medium (250 grams; 1/2 pound) eggplant
1 large egg
1/2 cup chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
seasoning to taste – black pepper, red pepper OR paprika;
– rubbed oregano, basil, rosemary OR thyme
mild vegetable oil to fry
Put a large pot of water on to boil; you are going to boil the eggplant. As it comes to the boil, salt it generously, as you would for pasta. A tablespoon of salt is by no means too much.
Peel the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into quarters lengthwise if it is thin enough; otherwise cut it into slices. The pieces should ideally be a slightly generous half-inch thick.
When the water boils, put the pieces in and boil until tender. This should be about 5 minutes. They will want to float, so occasionally turn them about to make sure they cook evenly.
Drain them well.
Break the egg into a shallow bowl and beat well with 1 tablespoon of water.
Sift the chick pea flour into another shallow bowl and mix with the salt and whatever other seasonings you like – about a teaspoon of most dried herbs, although I would use a fair bit less if it was rosemary.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with about 1/4″ of oil, and heat over medium-high heat. While it heats, dip the eggplant pieces thoroughly in the egg, then roll them through the chick pea flour. Lay them in the hot pan to cook. They will cook quite quickly; 4 or 5 minutes per side should be enough.
Lift out and serve at once.
Last year at this time I made Melon, Cucumber, & Feta Salad.