Last week I had an urge for fried food. The evil thought was put into my head by my husband who brought up fried eggplant. While I was grocery shopping there happened to be all these eggplants just piled up begging to be fried and dipped in tomato sauce. They were actually begging. So, I took pity on one, and brought it home. Once I was home, I realized we had mozzarella cheese sticks in the fridge, and before I knew it, they were begging to be fried, too.
Heat some vegetable oil in a large pot, I used my electric skillet, until it reaches 450ºF. If you happen to be lucky enough to own a deep fryer (mine broke) this would be the time to pull it out.
While you wait on the oil, prepare the eggplant by quartering, and slicing it into pieces.
Then cut the cheese sticks in half.
Prepare a breading station with egg, flour, and breadcrumbs.
Any breadcrumb will do to make a good cheese stick, but if you want to make the best and I mean best cheese stick you will ever eat, use Japanese breadcrumbs. When I was in college I worked in a restaurant that had a reputation for having outstanding mozzarella sticks, and the secret was Panko breadcrumbs. I picked these up at Trader Joe’s.
Next bread the eggplant by dipping it into the egg wash, rolling it in flour, putting it back in the egg, and then into the breadcrumbs. Lightly fry the eggplant in vegetable oil until it is golden brown. Top with a dash of salt and Parmesan cheese.
Use the same breading and frying technique for the cheese sticks. If they start to brown too quickly, or they spring a leak and cheese starts oozing out before they are golden brown, just lower the heat of the oil a bit.
Keep frying until you have plates of golden, crunchy, yumminess. Enjoy!
Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
1 small eggplant, washed and sliced
5 mozzarella cheese sticks, cut in half
3 eggs, beaten
1-2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Heat about 5 cups of vegetable oil in a large pot, or electric skillet until it reaches 450ºF. If you happen to be lucky enough to own a deep fryer, this would be the time to get it out. Bread both the eggplant and cheese sticks by dipping them into the egg, then the flour, then the egg again, and lastly into the breadcrumbs. Continue to do this until all the eggplant and cheese is breaded. Then fry them in batches until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. While hot, sprinkle the eggplant with a bit of salt and Parmesan cheese. Serve with tomato sauce and enjoy.