OK, so now these crispy Eggplant Parm Fries are my new favorite recipe.
I know I keep saying that but it’s one of the things I’m liking the most about coming up with ideas for my web site, every day I get to make and try something new and it just keeps getting better! Yes, I’ll admit they all didn’t make it to the site- some were failures. But that’s ok, it’s all a learning curve for me right now.
These Eggplant Parm Fries are basically a deconstructed eggplant parmesan in french fry form. I thought of these fries first as an appetizer but after they were finished and we started to “taste test” them…we just kept eating until they were gone. They became dinner that night, so I guess this recipe could really work for both an app and for a light dinner.
And actually, these “fries” are baked, not fried. They can be claimed as healthy, yes, but that’s not why I baked them instead of frying. If you use a really high temperature in your oven- these cook at 450- the eggplant gets so crispy you can literally break the fries in half. I did try frying them and they really didn’t get as crispy as they did in the oven.
The dipping sauce for the fries is a meat sauce that I made up quickly because when we make eggplant parmesan it’s with lots of meat, but you can totally make a quick marinara or even use a good jarred sauce.
Making these up is extremely easy to do – on the table in about 30 minutes. All you need to do is get a medium-sized eggplant, peel it, slice it up into 1/2 inch slices, then cut the slices into strips that look like french fries. I showed the size of the strip I used below. The size of the strips in kind of important to the end result of these fries, if they’re too big they won’t get as crispy in the oven, but too small and they’ll burn.
So this is the size I found worked best.
To slice my eggplant I used a mandoline cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces, but you can use a knife and just make the cuts as evenly as you can.
Once you have your eggplant cut, you dip them in some egg wash, coat them in a mixture of bread crumbs, parmesan and nutmeg. I know the nutmeg is weird but when we make chicken cutlets (some of our friends know them as “flat chicken”) we use a lot of fresh ground nutmeg. You don’t really get the taste of the nutmeg as much as it just brings out the flavor of the cheesy coating a little more.
Nutmeg – my secret ingredient for the day.
And that’s pretty much it! Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and into the oven at 450 for 20 minutes.
Crispy, delicious, Eggplant Parm Fries. Try them tonight!
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1½ cups of Italian style bread crumbs
- 1½ cups of freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs, beaten with a splash if water
- olive oil for drizzling
- 1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
- ½ lb. ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced finely
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced finely
- 1 Tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1½ teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
- chopped parsley
- grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450.
- Start by making the meat sauce.
- Add the olive oil to a heavy bottomed pot and cook the ground beef, breaking up into small pieces until the pink is cooked out. Add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often so they don't burn. Next put in the fresh garlic and cook a minute more.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, dried basil, the dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Let simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, while you make the eggplant fries.
- Peel the eggplant and slice it into ⅜ inch strips lengthwise on a mandoline or with a sharp knife. Lay the slices flat, then cut them into strips about ½" thick, to resemble a french fry.
- Dip each strip into the egg wash, let the excess egg drain off and then dredge in your bread crumb/cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining eggplant strips.
- Place the eggplant strips on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly coated with olive oil. Drizzle olive oil over the tops of all the "fries" and place into the oven for ten minutes.
- After ten minutes, take the eggplant out of the oven, turn, and drizzle once more with olive oil.
- Back into the oven for 8-10 more minutes until the other side is crispy.
- Place on a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Garnish with the chopped parsley and extra grated parmesan cheese. Serve with the sauce for dipping.