Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked in many ways, but one of my favorites is this fried eggplant. While traditional recipes call for coating the eggplant in flour before frying it, Italians will often skip the flour and use just parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. This Italian fried eggplant is the perfect appetizer, light meal or side dish and great when eggplant is in season.
Italian fried eggplant
Fried eggplant is a popular dish enjoyed by many around the world, especially in Italy. It is easy to prepare, delicious and makes an excellent side dish or main course.
Although eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be cooked in different ways, I prefer frying it with breadcrumbs and Parmesan to give it a crunchy texture on the outside while keeping it tender and juicy on the inside.
This Italian fried eggplant recipe has no flour which makes it a little lighter and crisper and it is actually the way many Italians traditionally make fried eggplant.
There are not many ingredients you will need for this Italian fried eggplant recipe.
- 1 large eggplant
- Kosher salt
- Bread crumbs
- Parmesan Cheese
- Vegetable oil for frying. Even thought his is an Italian fried eggplant recipe, you want to use vegetable oil instead of olive oil since vegetable oil can handle high heat when frying.
How to choose the best eggplant for frying
When looking for eggplant to fry, it is best to find a longer shaped eggplant opposed to the round varieties. Italian eggplant has many varieties (Traviata, Naida, Rosa Bianca, and Nubia) which all are perfect for making this Italian fried eggplant.
How to prepare the eggplant
Eggplant naturally has somewhat of a bitter flavor so you need to add salt to the eggplant before cooking it. This is not the salt that is going to flavor the eggplant.
To make Italian fried eggplant, you need to start with fresh and firm eggplants. You need to cut them into ¼-inch slices and season them with salt to draw out any excess moisture. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes before patting them dry with paper towels.
This salting process means the salt that you add to the eggplant sits on top of the slices and pulls the bitterness out of the eggplant. I like to place the eggplant slices in a colander in the sink then sprinkle salt over them.
You know the salt is ready to be rinsed off of the eggplant when the salt turns to drops of liquid. After you have done this step, you can start to make the eggplant recipe.
How to make Italian fried eggplant
Once you have sliced and salted the eggplant, the rest is pretty easy. It is just making the coating for the outside crust of the eggplant and cooking it up.
Here are all the steps:
Breading and Seasoning Eggplant Slices
- Breading the eggplant: In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs until well combined. In another bowl, mix Parmesan and bread crumbs and salt. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture first then into the bread crumb mixture.
I like to place the breaded eggplant slices on to a large sheet pan that I can then bring over to the stove when I am ready to fry the eggplant. One eggplant makes a lot of slices so a large sheet pan is handy.
Frying Eggplant Slices
- Fry it up: You want to heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden brown on both sides for about 2-3 minutes per side. Once done, place the eggplant on to a plate lined paper towels to soak up any access oil that may still be left over from frying. I like to double up the paper towels for this step!
Italian fried eggplant is great served as an appetizer or as a side dish to pasta or meat. Here are some of our favorite things to serve with it:
More like this
If you love this classic Italian fried eggplant then you will also love these Italian recipes:
Italian Fried Eggplant
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 cups panko breadcrumbs or regular bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup Parmesan finely grated
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt for seasoning
- Vegetable oil for frying enough to come up the side of a large saute pan about ¼ inch.
- kosher salt for drawing out eggplant bitterness
- Cut eggplant into slices about ¼ inch thick.1 large eggplant
- Sprinkle kosher salt on both sides of the slices and place them in a colander or on paper towels to remove excess moisture for about 30 minutes.kosher salt
- In a shallow dish, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and salt.2 cups panko breadcrumbs, ½ cup Parmesan, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with a fork until well combined.2 large eggs
- Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, then into the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
- Place coated eggplant on to a large plate or sheet pan.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (about 350°F).Vegetable oil for frying
- Fry each coated eggplant slice until golden brown on both sides (about two minutes per side).
- Remove from pan using tongs or slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
- Serve as is or with a side of marinara.