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Delicious Dish: Eggplant Fries

September 1st, 2011 No Comments

These bad boys are better than they look!!!

Yes, that mostly has to do with the fact that they’re fried, but I promise you, these crispy-on-the-outside-light-as-air-on-the-inside fries are worthy of your indulgence.

In last month’s Bon Appetit, a reader asked if they could obtain the recipe for the “outstanding fries” from The Art Institute of Chicago.  Of course they did!  And I am passing along the goodness to you.

EGGPLANT FRIES via Bon Appetit

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1-pound eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2 rounds, then into 1/2-thick strips
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons za’atar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for seasoning

(Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that includes sumac, herbs, and sesame seeds. It’s available at specialty foods stores, Middle Eastern markets, and igourmet.com.)

How To Make Them:

Place eggplant in a large bowl. Add 2 cups ice and enough water to cover. Place a plate on top of eggplant to weigh it down. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
** Important note from BA:  “Eggplant behaves like a sponge” so it can soak up tons of oil.  By putting the strips in the ice water bath first, they will absorb the water and drop the temperature so when put into the oil, a coating will form to keep the oil out!

Pour oil into a large deep pot to a depth of 2″. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of pot and heat oil over medium heat to 325°.

Meanwhile, whisk rice flour, lemon zest, za’atar, garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon sea salt in a medium bowl to blend. Drain eggplain. Working in batches, toss damp eggplant in flour mixture to coat.

Working in batches, fry eggplant, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per batch. (Reheat oil to 325° between batches.) Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with lemon juice and sea salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

The dipping sauce is good, but not necessary.  I put good old fashioned ketchup on my fries

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped kosher pickle or pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk yogurt, chopped pickle, lemon zest, and oregano in a small bowl to blend. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

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