We know you’ve been eagerly anticipating the rest of the barbeque feast so today we bring to you the starter. While your brisket is making is low and slow journey to tender succulent deliciousness, you can sate your appetite with crispy fried eggplant with luscious buttermilk ranch dressing.
|Is it dinner time yet? This is taking forreeever. Oh, an appetizer?? Yum!|
This recipe was initially for fried green tomatoes, but this early in the season you don’t see green tomatoes in abundance. So we swapped them out for eggplant and it worked out very nicely. The key here was soaking the eggplant in the salt water solution for about half an hour before using them, which allowed the bitter moisture inside of the eggplant to come out leaving only supple sweet eggplant behind to be eaten.
Making the Dish
To start, peel the skin off your eggplant. Chop off the top and the bottom so that the ends are flat, and then use a peeler or a knife to remove the skin. Then, slice perpendicularly to create thin 1/4 in circles. Add them to a bowl of salted water, and let sit for 30 minutes.
After the eggplant has sat for 30 minutes, remove from the water and pat dry. In one bowl, take two eggs and beat vigorously. In another, combine panko bread crumbs with a dash of salt and pepper and a touch of the cajun rub you used for the brisket. Mix this all together. The panko bread crumbs are super important for this recipe, it really just won’t work with normal breadcrumbs. The panko crumbs are bigger and crispier and really make this dish work, so make sure you use them!
|Breaded eggplant, ready to become crispy.|
Dip the eggplant into the egg wash and then let it drip off slightly. Then, press the eggplant into the breadcrumb mixture and coat it on all sides. Do this until all of your eggplant pieces have been thoroughly coated by the breadcrumb mixture.
|Frying the eggplant pieces in hot oil.|
In a nonstick pan, heat up a quarter cup of oil over high heat. When the oil just starts to smoke, delicately place the eggplant into the oil and let cook. You can cook it for about 2 minutes on a side, and then flip when the crumbs are a nice golden brown.
|Finished crispy eggplant.|
Cook an additional 2 – 3 minutes, and once done, remove from the oil and let rest on a paper towel. Repeat this until all the eggplant pieces are done.
|Combining all of the ingredients for the dressing.|
To make the buttermilk ranch dressing, you’ll need all your ingredients out and then a quick stir. Add a half cup of mayonnaise, chopped chives, salt, pepper, pecorino romano cheese, and a touch of the cajun foreplay seasoning to a bowl. Add in buttermilk and whisk. Add more buttermilk until you get to your desired level of thickness, about 1/3 – 1/2 cup for a thicker sauce, 1/2 – 3/4 cup for a thinner sauce. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
|The lovely buttermilk ranch dressing, garnished with chopped chives.|
The crispy outside with the hot, sweet eggplant inside couples wonderfully with the cool, creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. Top the eggplant slices with the dressing or dip in bites as you eat.
This is a great combination of flavors and works just as well for the eggplant as it would for a friend green tomato. We all gobbled these down quickly which gave us the strength to move on and make the rest of the side dishes for our barbeque feast…
Panko Crusted Eggplant with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
A delicious summer appetizer that brings some excitement to your eggplant.
1 large eggplant
1 cup panko bread crumbs
dash salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cajun foreplay seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 bunch fresh chives