My neighbor is starting to put her vegetable garden to bed, and she pulled several eggplants on Sunday. She gave me two nice-sized eggplants, but I had no use for them this week so I decided to bread, fry and freeze them to use for Eggplant Parmesan at a later date.
Another option would have been to make Roasted Eggplant Soup and freeze it, but I decided to go with the fried eggplant instead. If you have the room in your freezer, here’s how you can preserve some of the end-of-season eggplant to use over the next few months.
Cut the eggplant to your desired thickness. I went with slices that were about a half-inch thick. Salt both sides of the slices, and allow them to sweat out some of their moisture for about a half hour. My set up is two cooling racks placed on top of a cookie sheet to catch the drips of water.
Set up a breading station with a bowl each of flour (I used 3/4 cup), beaten eggs (I used 2 eggs plus 2 tablespoons of water), and bread crumbs (I used 2 cups of Panko bread crumbs seasoned with 1 teaspoon of salt). This was just the right amount for my two medium eggplants cut into 17 half-inch slices. You will need to adjust the mount of flour, eggs, and bread crumbs depending on how many slices you have.
Dip each eggplant slice into the flour first and coat it on both sides. Then, dip the slice into the egg, coating completely. Finally, dip the slice into the breadcrumbs. Transfer to a plate.
Place the breaded slices of eggplant into the refrigerator for at least an hour to help set the bread crumbs before frying. I find that when I bread and fry immediately, I lose some of the breading, but if I let the breading set in the fridge, more of it sticks to whatever I'm frying. I used the wax-paper like sleeves from the inside of cereal and other food boxes to place in between each layer of eggplant before the whole plate went into the refrigerator.
Heat an oil with a high smoking point (I used canola), in a frying pan or electric skillet to 375 degrees F. I like using my electric skillet because I can control the temperature easily. If you have a deep fryer, you could use that as well. Fry each breaded eggplant slice until it is golden and crispy on each side. Don’t worry about cooking the slices all the way through if you’re going to be using them for Eggplant Parmesan. You’ll want them firm inside so they don’t turn to mush when you bake the dish.
Place the fried eggplant on a baking sheet, and put it in the freezer for two hours so that each individual slice freezes.
Once the fried eggplant is frozen, you can transfer it to a freezer-safe container. It will keep for about three to four months. If you freeze the slices individually first, you should be able to pull out as many slices as you need at a time.
Teaser photo: Dream79/Shutterstock