Fried Eggplant

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Who doesn’t love anything fried? I know I do, and one of my favorite fried foods is fried eggplant. On this dreary, rainy day I decided to take the afternoon and fry up some fresh eggplant. I grew up watching my beloved grandmother spend an entire day frying up eggplant fresh from the garden. She took the time to cut each piece nice and thin, then bread it, fry it and freeze it for her amazing eggplant parmesan. In honor of my grandmother, I try to keep the Italian tradition of frying fresh eggplant alive and strong. It can be quite a process, but oh so worth it. This post describes how I fry up the fresh vegetable. Stay tuned, the recipe for eggplant parm will soon follow!

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Total Time: about 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
1 large fresh eggplant
6 eggs
1 Tablespoon water
3-4 cups Italian bread crumbs
Cooking Oil

Directions:
1. Peel the eggplant to remove the skin. Use a slicer (one similar to the picture above) on the smallest setting to slice the eggplant. I like it cut very thin, so I use the .75 mm setting that my slicer comes with. This way you get the most out of your eggplant. Watch your fingers, I have cut mine before. You can also use a knife, but by using a slicer it saves a lot of time and keeps all the slices consistent.
2. Prep the breading station. In one bowl whisk together the eggs and water. In another bowl, place the bread crumbs. In a frying pan, put enough cooking oil (I use vegetable oil) to fill the pan about an inch up. You want the eggplant slices to basically float on top when frying. Also, I use an electric skillet because it is large and fits more slices. The larger the pan, the more slices you can fit and the fewer rounds you need to complete to fry up all the eggplant.
3. Heat the oil on medium high heat; I set my frying pan to about 350. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, start breading the eggplant. Take a slice, dip it in the egg, then in the bread crumbs and then into the pan. Cook the slices for about 3-4 minutes on the first side. Then flip using a fork and cook the second side for about 2-3 minutes.
4. When nice and brown, remove the slices to a paper towel-lined plate. When you run out of room, place a paper towel on top of the slices and keep stacking in this manner. The paper towels will help absorb some of the extra oil.
5. The eggplant can be eaten immediately, or frozen for future use (say in eggplant parm :)). I simply stack the slices in a large Ziploc bag.

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