A popular tradition in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, fried aubergine, or eggplant, is appreciated the world around in 2011, particularly by vegetarians. Many recipe traditions fry the slices of eggplant in oil until browned. Then it is eaten with other vegetables in bread, a salad, or as a small side dish with a dipping sauce to accompany a larger meal.
Fried aubergine is generally not difficult to prepare, but it can be with some recipes. For the basic version, it takes just a few ingredients. Thin raw slices of eggplant can be laid in a pan coated in olive oil. For those who want more substance, a simple flour, salt and water batter can coat the slices for a deeper, heartier frying.
Even an elaborate coat can be applied. In addition to the flour, salt and water, celebrity Italian chef Emeril Lagasse uses eggs, bread crumbs and his Essence® brand of seasoning, which contains several common dry rub ingredients like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano and thyme. When added to the flour, these elements raise the final taste of the fried aubergine.
Using a pan-frying method, the fried aubergine will take about three to five minutes on each side. With battering, it may take slightly less time. Either way, the oil should be hot enough to make the battered vegetables sizzle when placed in the skillet. In a deep fryer, times will be cut dramatically since both sides are being immersed in oil at once. When cooking fried aubergine in any way, a browned-but-not-burnt appearance is the goal.
More flavoring is often imparted with other elements presented with fried aubergine. Different cultures typically use these ingredients in different ways. In Greece, this dish is alled melitzanes tiganites, a so-called meze or pre-meal small dish often served with marinara or olive oil for dipping. Another similar dish in Middle Eastern cultures is served on pita with tahini sauce and a few crunchy, uncooked vegetables for contrast, such as lettuce and a medley of diced onion, tomato and cucumber.
Eggplant is just one of many vegetables that can be fried to perfection. Cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, onions and, of course, potatoes are among the most popular fried vegetables. For those that must be sliced, chefs often use a slicer like those made for slicing cheese. This way, the slices of eggplant, zucchini or carrots will be uniformly thick and will cook evenly from piece to piece.