If you ever want to make a recipe "Southern" just fry it or smoke it. I doubled down in my Southernness for this smoked and fried eggplant recipe.
The slow smoking of the eggplant infuses it deeply with smokey magic while leaving flesh moist. And because of the long cooking time in the smoker, the frying is more like a quick sear and has the same effect, i.e. gives the eggplant a nice crust and seals in the juiciness.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE FRIED EGGPLANT
- Kosher salt
- Almond Milk
- Black Pepper
- Dried Oregano
- Canola Oil
EGGPLANT RECIPE COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Prepare the eggplant
Slice the eggplant then heavily salt them. Allow the slices to drain in a colander for 1 hour.
Rinse eggplant, pat dry with a paper towel, then smoke for 1 hour.
Smoke the eggplant
Prepare smoker for indirect heat. Bring to 180-200 degrees. Smoke the eggplant for an hour. Remove and let cool
Fry the smoked eggplant
Place almond milk and cornmeal breading in 2 separate bowls. For the cornmeal add paprika, pepper, and oregano mixing well.
Heat canola oil in a cast-iron skillet or fryer to 350 degrees. Bread the eggplant slices by dipping them into the almond milk then in the breading.
Working in batches, carefully place the breaded eggplant slices in hot oil and fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove the slices from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack with a sheet pan underneath for draining
SMOKED AND FRIED EGGPLANT COOKING CONSIDERATIONS
Cooking time will depend on thickness of the slices
Salting the slices is critical to preventing soggy eggplant. Do not skip this step. And make sure you allow ample time to "sweat" the eggplant. Salting also rids the bitterness
Make sure you fry at high enough temperatures for optimal crispiness and no sogginess.
Don't crowd the pan when frying. Cook in batches if necessary
Top cooked eggplant with homemade roasted red pepper sauce otherwise tahini is always a good choice.
MORE FRIED VEGETABLES RECIPES
make this eggplant dish
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- 1 eggplant cut into 2-inch slices
- Kosher Salt
- 2 cups almond milk
- 2 cups cornmeal breading
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2 cups canola oil
- Roasted red pepper sauce (recipe below)
- Heavily salt eggplant slices and allow to drain in a colander for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare a smoker at 180-200 degrees.
- Rinse eggplant, pat dry with a paper towel, and smoker for 1 hour.
- Remove eggplant from smoker and let cool
- Place almond milk and cornmeal breading in 2 separate bowls. For the cornmeal add paprika, pepper, and oregano mixing well.
- Heat oil in a skillet or fryer to 350 degrees.
- Bread eggplant slices by first dipping in almond milk, then in breading.
- Working in batches, carefully place breaded eggplant slices in hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack with baking rack beneath to drain.