PARMESAN EGGPLANT FRIES WITH LEMON AIOLI

The Chinese began writing about eggplant in 544 and its popularity spread quickly in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. In July, tiny eggplants arrive in my CSA. These smaller specimens have fewer bitter seeds and a tender skin that make them perfect for making fries. Before this nightshade grows into a larger fruit as the season progresses and generally requires salt to draw out excess water, make these healthy baked "fries". 

Nota bene: If the breadcrumb mixture starts to get too soggy from the egg whites, add some more of the Parmesan Panko breadcrumbs to help dry it out.

Ingredients

  • Small eggplants cut lengthwise into 3/4 inch wedges

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan

  • Sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Olive oil

LEMON AIOLI

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (remove green sprouts if any)

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from an unwaxed lemon)

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or Silpat).

2. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat egg whites.

3. In another shallow bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, parsley, Parmesan, sea salt and pepper.

4. Place each eggplant wedge into egg white bowl and coat liberally with panko mixture.

5. Lay each wedge on prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.