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Oven-Fried Eggplant Sticks by

Source: http://localfoods.about.com/od/summer/r/OvenEggplant.htm

Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 75 minutes These oven-fried eggplant sticks ("oven-fried" is a fancy word for "baked"!) were inspired by the deep-fried versions served at Galatoire's restaurant in New Orleans (see the fried version, if you prefer!). At Galatoire's they are served with powdered sugar for dipping or sprinkling. Sound odd? It may be, but it's also delicious. A dash or two of Tabasco sauce isn't out of order either.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
2 eggplants
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 eggs

Instructions

In a large bowl dissolve 2 tablespoons of the salt in 1 cup warm water. Add 3 quarts cold water. Set aside.

Trim eggplant and cut into -inch thick, 3- to 4-inch long sticks. Put in salt water, submerge with an upside-down plate, and let sit 30 minutes. (Why are you doing this? It's called brining, and it helps eggplant hold its shape when you cook it.)

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining teaspoons of salt, plus the pepper and cayenne, if you like. Add the oil and use your fingers to work the oil into the breadcrumb mixture. Transfer to a large plate or shallow bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs to break them up completely. When you lift the whisk up it should be as lifting it out of water.

Preheat oven to 425F. Liberally oil a large baking sheet (or use nonstick).

Drain and thoroughly dry the eggplant sticks.

Keeping one hand dry and one hand wet, dip an eggplant stick in the eggs, lift in out and shake off any excess egg, put stick in bread crumbs mixture and coat completely, lift out and shake off any excess bread crumbs, transfer stick to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sticks.

Bake, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings Oven-Fried Eggplant Sticks.

Servings: 4

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