Let’s Make Baked Eggplant
Recently, I had an eggplant hanging around and I had some leftover spaghetti sauce, so it made sense to make eggplant Parmesan. I didn’t really want to take the time to fry it — plus, I really hate the mess that frying makes. And, while I do LOVE fried foods, I’m also trying to be more conscious of what I’m shoving into my face.
So, I decided to oven-fry my eggplant — and it came out DELICIOUS! It made fantastic baked eggplant Parm. And tonight, I decided to oven-fry another eggplant and stuff it into pitas with hummus and call it dinner.
♥ Related: Spinach & Artichoke Eggplant Rollatini
Ok, ok, I know you’re wondering, “What the hell is oven-frying!?!” Basically, by oven-frying, I’m referring to breading a product and then baking it in the oven at a super high heat so that it gets a nice, crispy texture that’s somewhat close to the texture you’d get when frying. I do this a lot with poultry, fish, and veggies — this is the first time I’ve tried it with eggplant.
I think it might actually be the best version of oven-frying I’ve tried. It was super crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside. Aside from eggplant Parmesan, and pita stuffing, this baked eggplant would also be great on homemade pizza, in a sandwich, or just munching on as a snack with marinara sauce on the side.
♥ Related: Oven-fried Pork Schnitzel
This recipe takes a little time and effort, but isn’t particularly difficult. I recommend making a really large batch and freezing the leftovers. Freeze leftover slices on a sheet pan in a single layer. Once frozen, store in a gallon sized freezer bag. When you’re looking for a crispy snack, bake frozen eggplant slices in a very hot oven (at least 400 degrees) until crispy and hot (about 10 minutes.)
Crispy Baked Eggplant
- 1 eggplant cut into ¼ inch rounds
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- salt to season
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Spread the eggplant out over a cookie sheet. Sprinkle liberally with salt and wait 15-20 minutes. The salt will draw out water from the eggplant and you will see water start pooling up on top of the eggplant. After 15-20 minutes, use a paper towel to dry off the water — this will also remove some of the excess salt.
- Set up a breading station — flour, eggs, and bread crumbs. Dip the eggplant into the flour and shake off the excess. You only need a thin layer of flour. Then dip into the egg and then the bread crumbs. Evenly coat the eggplant with breadcrumbs.Place the breaded eggplant slices on a cookie sheet that you thinly coated with oil (or sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Flip the eggplant and bake for another 10 minutes. Eggplant should be brown and crispy.
- Notice I didn’t call for extra salt to season the eggplant or breading. The salting of the eggplant to draw the extra moisture out seasons the eggplant too.
- You can make your own seasoned breadcrumbs by combining a cup of plain bread crumbs with up to 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs.
Things you might want for this recipe:
Cake Pans: I like these inexpensive 8-inch cake pans to set up my standard breading station. They are wide enough for most food and have high sides to help me keep my counter clean during the process. Plus they are multi-taskers because, well. Cake. I own three of these.
Sheet Pans: Most likely you have plenty of cookie sheets, but I swear by these basic aluminum sheet pans. They are inexpensive and lightweight. And I like that they have a fairly high lip so they are useful for baking cookies OR roasting juicier items (no dripping onto your oven floor!) These are very standard professional kitchen items, but also super helpful in the home kitchen.
Sheet Pan Racks: A rack to place in your sheet pan during cooking time is a MUST for oven frying. Keeping the food off of the bottom of the sheet pan allows air to circulate all around the food so there isn’t a soggy bottom. These racks are also awesome for cooling baked goods, especially big batches of cookies! A couple of sheet pan racks are far cheaper than one air fryer and won’t take up all of your counter space.
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