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Oven-Baked Eggplant Fries

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Meet my new favorite and addicting snack: Oven-Baked Eggplant Fries.

DSC05223I’ve recently become obsessed with the deep-fried, heart-clogging glory that is the Eggplant Fries at my local pizzeria, but I needed a solution for when I start craving them on non-cheat days. That happens a lot. So instead of giving in to deep-fried temptation every time I think about them (did I mention that happens a lot?), I created this easy baked alternative that gives the fried ones a run for their money.

My secret is adding a little grated parmesan to the breading. This really builds onto the flavor, giving us more than enough to make up for what we lose in not deep-frying. We bake at a higher heat so the breading winds up audibly crispy in every bite and beautifully golden, giving way to the melt-in-your-mouth tender eggplant it encases.

Breading anything is kind of a pain, but if you have a helper like I did, it’ll go by much faster. Then just pop the sticks in the oven and go treats yourself to a drink because you just made an amazing, guilt-free snack without breaking a sweat.

The only thing I have to warn you about is how highly and dangerously addictive these are. My boyfriend and I are fully capable of killing the whole batch (that’s one full eggplant) in a single sitting. …But we we totally never do THAT…

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I love serving these with marinara sauce, but you could try tzatziki or alfredo as well.
  2. Try to keep your slices of eggplant around the same size so they cook at the same pace.
  3. I find the sticks cook best when they’re about ½-inch thick. If you slice them too thin, they cook down so much that you’re just left with breading. But if you slice them thicker, they won’t be as tender.
  4. These make a great side dish for dinner, or a snack for the kids.
  5. These are so flavorful from the seasoned breading and parmesan that you don’t even need to salt them! Yay for less sodium!
  6. Please note the flour is missing from the picture below because I’m dumb.

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Oven-Baked Eggplant Fries
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk or heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray evenly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice the peeled eggplant into quarters, then slice each quarter into sticks about ½-inch thick.
  3. In a small, shallow bowl, whisk together the milk/cream and egg until well-combined.
  4. In a small, shallow bowl, whisk together the parmesan and breadcrumbs until evenly combined.
  5. Place the flour in a 3rd small shallow bowl. Lay the bowls out in the order you’ll be breading: flour, egg/milk, breadcrumbs/cheese.
  6. Use a fork or your hands to dunk each eggplant stick first into the flour, then the wet mixture, and finishing with the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to evenly coat with each layer. Place breaded sticks on prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes then flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Serve with sauce and enjoy.

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Colleen Bierstine

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