Breaded eggplant (italian style) what's the secret?

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Sous Chef
Sep 16, 2004
I can never make breaded eggplant like my italian grandmother's and feel there is something I am missing.

Last time out, I tried putting salt on the eggplant before frying but this made it bitter.

I have used both crisco and olive oil in the past and I think the crisco ones were actually better perhaps the heat was hotter?

I basically use flour and egg mixture to coat them and then deep fry in perhaps a 1/2" of oil.
Evening, jp! I sprinkle my slices with a wee bit of salt and let them drain on paper towels for about half an hour, then dip into an egg wash and then into flour or (better yet) bread crumbs. I usually brush them with a little olive oil and bake them until browned, but also fry them in just a tiny bit of olive oil.

I hope that helps, but I know the resident wisdom will have some additional suggestions here!
An old italian grandmother taught me to slice, keep the peel on, salt, let drain for about 1 hour, rinse the eggplant, dry with paper towels, then dredge in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs then fry in oil, about 1/2 inch, turn over, not deep fry.
I was watching an Italian cooking show on TV and the Chef was telling us that saltin the eggplant was not necessary. I have found this to be true.

I flour the eggplant, dip in egg yolk and then into the crumbs. After crumbing it ialso helps to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cooking as this sets the crumbs on the eggplant.
Also dipping the eggplant into a tempura batter and then deep frying in Extra Virgin olive oil is excellent.
i do the same as waynet, deb, and audeo. the only thing i do different, is after slicing, i wrap in paper towels, put on a plate, and stack the plates so it helps squeeze out some of the liquid. i only salt if they look really juicy. i also like to use larger bread crumbs, and double dip the eggplant. eggwash, flour, eggwash, breadcrumbs.
it's also nice just floured and fried, or just grilled too.

another fav is to marinate in beer/soy/ginger and grill or steam the slices.
what do you cook them in? olive oil, vegetable oil or crisco? I am beginning to think that maybe crisco is better but maybe it's just hotter and I have to turn up the burner w/ the other oils. How do you test to make sure the skillet is hot enuf? drop some flour in it?
if you want to cook with olive oil, and require a slightly higher temp, try using extra-light olive oil. i think bertolli makes one. it is the opposite end of the spectrum from evoo. much lighter in color and flavor, but smokes at a higher temp.

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