This might sound a bit weird, but I found it important to cook some really good meals around the time I heard of my grandma’s passing last week, both in her honor and to fortify my wife, daughter and I. That week I had decided to cook one of my favorite recipes, Smitten Kitchen’s Tomato Sauce With Butter & Onions and had also picked up an eggplant at a farm stand. I knew I had posted about the sauce before, but I figured it would be worth writing about my attempt at making Emeril Lagasse’s Fried Eggplant to go along with it, instead of the breaded variety I made last time I wrote about this recipe.
Right off the bat, I realized this would be a tricky one because — after staring — I discovered I didn’t have a thermometer. That meant, I had no idea when I got the oil to the recommended 375 degrees. At that point I decided to move forward and wing it. Like any recipe that involves deep frying, you’re working with several parts. In this case, it’s the sliced eggplant (which I didn’t quarter), the egg wash, the corn starch and the bread crumbs mixed with spices (I just put it together for this one recipe instead of making a full batch of Emeril’s Essence mixture).
Because I didn’t know how hot my oil was, I really just had to guess. The earlier pieces I dropped in didn’t seem to fry enough, but I think I got to a good place towards the end of the process. I’ve got to pick up another thermometer.
The chicken, pasta and sauce all went off without a hitch. The only regret I had with it this time around was not reserving some of the sauce specifically for the eggplant. My mom used to cook eggplant along with a very time consuming pasta recipe that’s also one of the best I’ve ever head. I kept tasting memories of that eggplant while eating this one, but it never quite got there. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a new thermometer and bang this one out a little more efficiently next time.