One of my favorite things about summer are the fresh vegetables from my husband Scott's garden. I love watching him work in it, the relaxation he seems to get from it and we all enjoy the 'fruits' of his labor! It's my daughter's and my job to pick and cook what we grow and I think that is a pretty good deal.
Each year I say we should have been zucchini and pepper farmers because we do a pretty good job of having an over abundance of them! We also seem to do pretty well with our eggplant, growing both the Ichiban and Black Diamond varieties. I love them both, but prefer the Black Diamond as they are the larger, more rounded eggplant most people are used to and are easier to peel.
Last night, I fried some up to go along with the Craig's UnKabobs that we cooked a few nights before and we really enjoyed them. I used Zatarains New Orleans Fish Fry Seasoned dry batter also seasoned with some extra Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, water and fried them in Canola Oil, and then an added sprinkle of salt. Along with a squirt of ketchup, I could make a meal out fried eggplant all by itself.
As my grandfather used to say, eggplant are a more 'educated taste'....that is that most kids don't like them. But my girls always have loved eggplant, as trying them have never been an option. Our motto at our house is that you never know what you might not love until you give it a try.
***You can also use the recipe below to fry zucchini or yellow summer squash!
Cajun Fried Eggplant
1 - 2 Black Diamond or Ichiban eggplants, pealed and cut in 1 inch round slices
2 - 3 cups Zatarain New Orleans Style Fish Fry - Seasoned already @ Zatarain's
4 cups Canola Oil or a good quality frying oil
1 teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning (we like it a little spicier)
salt to sprinkle on after frying
Wash and peel eggplants (cut purple skins off) and cut in to 1 inch round slices. In a separate bowl place Zatarains Fish Fry meal along with 1 teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning and mix well.
Dip each eggplant round in water and then immediately into the meal, pushing it firmly down to coat thoroughly on both sides.
Using tongs, immediately drop gently in oil that has come to a low boil on your stove. Cook on both sides until eggplant is slightly browned (see picture below) and wear an apron...(I can't tell you how many shirts I have ruined from grease stains - my Granny would be so proud of me wearing an apron as she was always harping on me about it).
When eggplant are browned, take out with a tongs and place on a dish that has been lined with paper towels to 'sop' up the excess grease. Sprinkle immediately with salt or sea salt(not too heavily) and eat as soon as possible.
***Last night as I cooked a huge portion. I turned the heat element on on my stove and placed the plate of fried eggplant in the oven between batches. Remember if you allow the eggplant to cool too much and wait too long to eat it, they will become slightly soggy.
Serve these Cajun Fried Eggplant alongside any meal (with ketchup of course). This eggplant is especially great with fried catfish, brim or bass. We actually fry the eggplant along with yellow squash and zucchini in larger chunks when we serve this with fried fish in the same oil as we fry the fish, however we fry it last as the meal doesn't stick to the squash and eggplant as well as it does on the fish.
The Ranch Kitchen