Michael has never been a fan of eggplant. I’ve cooked it maybe twice in our 14 years together, and last summer he tried some he deemed “acceptable” while attending a wedding. This spring, Halia planted an eggplant at her dayhome, and it was duly transplanted into the greenhouse. It didn’t survive transplantation, but Michael planted a new one on the sly.
I harvested that one eggplant — with some injury to my fingers, because did you know that eggplants grow gigantic spikes?? — just before our trip to Ottawa and brought it all the way to Ontario with me so that we could cook it there and eat it together.
That eggplant is still sitting in my mother-in-law’s fridge. Or perhaps it joined the rest of the Thanksgiving scraps in the compost bin. Poor eggplant, so arduously cared-for all summer long. The whole saga is so distressing, I had to buy an eggplant when I did my big homecoming grocery shopping on Tuesday morning.
Today, I cooked the darn thing. And it was delicious. So delicious, in fact, that Michael proclaimed it something he would happily eat frequently. I do have my doubts about just how nutritious it is, being so fried and salted. But it’s delicious. And easy, too.
Gluten-Free Vegan Battered and Fried Eggplant
- 1 eggplant, any size you wish
- corn flour
- coconut oil, or other oil of your choice for frying
- Wash, peel, and cut eggplant into 1 cm slices. You can remove the peel entirely or peel it in “strips” to leave a bit of the purple on the outside edge.
- Generously salt the eggplant and set it in a colander for an hour. Salting the eggplant draws out the bitterness and also removes excess moisture that can cause the eggplant to be soggy when cooked.
- After salting is done, rinse the excess salt off and use two hands to squeeze each slice to remove excess moisture.
- Start heating your oil in a pan. I used coconut oil and had it about 0.5 cm deep, so a good thick layer of oil.
- Toss slices in a bowl to give them a coat of cornstarch. Make sure both sides are coated.
- Dip each slice into a bowl of water, then coat each side in corn flour.
- Fry 4-5 slices at a time in hot oil, letting each side turn golden before flipping. Don’t crowd the pan!
- Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Let them cool a bit, and then enjoy! Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside!
Michael now believes in the deliciousness of eggplant.