Golden Eggplant Fries

Try as I might to outgrow this tendency, in summer I go barefoot, and spend my days at the beach. It was how I raised. My mom and I went to the town beach on weekday mornings. We would pack a thermos of lemonade and a cooler of tuna salad sandwiches, Fritos, and plums and sit and scamper and read and chat with the other moms and kids in a circle of low chairs on the spit of sand between the scalding asphalt and stagnant Long Island Sound. There were daily contests to determine who could hold a fireball in his mouth the longest. And a thousand games of Going West were played on the stationary stagecoach. There was sand in the car until school started again in September.

My first job was selling ice cream on the beach. And when I wasn’t working I was laying out at Meig’s Point with my friends, meeting lifeguards with Sun-In in our hair, with the radio tuned to KC 101. I go back to Hammonasset again and again. Home from college before the park opened for the season, following the strand for miles and reading paperbacks between the dunes. It’s where I land to walk and think and catch up with friends. Last month I brought Violet there, so that present and past could meet at the water. She loved the small waves crashing over her feet. This is how I want her to know summer. Wet bathing suits hanging out the back of the Jeep and blueberry stained fingers until we’re home for the night.

There isn’t much time for meal planning or cooking elaborate meals this time of year. And no need. Vegetables and dip, bread and cheese, grilled burgers and veggies, and ice cream all are good options. Last night, I made lamb burgers with cucumbers and tzatziki and these eggplant fries on the side.  I used one medium-sized, shiny, deep purple eggplant and it yielded more than enough for us. They were salty and crisp outside and creamy inside. Definitely serve and eat immediately. And be sure to drain the fries on a paper bag or paper towel then move them to a cooling rack so they don’t get soggy. Salt liberally, and dip in your favorite condiment. I served them with a roasted red pepper aioli, which was terrific.

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Golden Eggplant Fries


  • Yield: Serves 3-4 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Peel eggplant and slice into 3/4 inch sticks. In a shallow bowl combine flour and seasoning. In a deep pot heat oil over medium-high until it reaches 360 degrees. Fry eggplant in small batches, about 2 minutes, until deep golden brown. Use a skimmer to turn and remove from oil, depositing onto paper, then moving to a baking rack. Sprinkle with kosher salt while they’re hot and serve.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe on The Hungry Mouse.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

9 Comments

  1. Great recipe, I love eggplant. If you salt eggplant and leave it to drain forever in a collander. Ok,not really forever but at least 4 hours, the longer the better. They will look all shriveled, but do not dispair. Wipe them off and then fry them. They will absorb less oil and be the best tasting eggplant ever. My current favorite eggplant dish is eggplant, tomato, and onion salad.

    regards,
    Theresa

    1. Hi Theresa! Nice to hear from you. I usually salt my eggplant before I make a parm, etc. and did wonder how not doing so would affect this recipe. It worked out well, but next time I will try it your way! Thanks for writing. Hope all is well SOB.

    2. Interesting Theresa. Doesn’t the eggplant discolor if you leave it out that long?

      Jillian,
      As a native New Yorker your beach memories brought me right back. This simple dish is a perfect metaphor for those simpler Summer days.

  2. Ah, KC 101. That was my school bus driver’s radio station of choice. I grew up in Westbrook, and compared to our minuscule town beach, Hammonasset was like a waterfront resort. I’m pretty far from the water right now, but I dream of moving back to the coast — even if it’s just Long Island Sound.
    Thanks for the memories, and thanks for the recipe. Eggplant is my favorite of all nightshades. I predict these fries will show up on my table soon.

  3. There is something special about the CT shoreline, and I think it stems from the fact that we have these beaches available to us (not the most fabulous, of course, but still–a beach is a beach, especially when it’s less than ten minutes from home) but without the trappings that come with the more famous resort towns, namely that once the summer ends, it doesn’t feel like a ghost town either. It’s an odd mix of the everyday and the special that few other areas have, I think.

  4. Wow! Your child hood is what dreams and movies are made of. I have a few eggplants I have been needing to use. Think I will try this out thank you so much.

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