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FRIED SPICED EGGPLANT WITH CUCUMBER-GARLIC SAUCE

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

No small eggplants at the grocer? About 1/2 pound of a larger one can be substituted, but you’ll need to cut it differently. Start by cutting the larger eggplant into 1/3-inch-thick slices, as directed. Then cut each slice into quarters. Proceed as directed in the recipe.

Start to finish: 40 minutes (20 minutes active)

1 small eggplant ( 1/2 pound and about 2 inches wide), cut crosswise into 1/3 -inch-thick slices

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (to taste)

1 large egg

1 tablespoon water

1 cup panko breadcrumbs

2

/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 (2-inch) piece seedless cucumber

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1 small clove garlic, minced

Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the eggplant slices lightly on both sides with salt. Transfer to a large colander, then set in the sink and let drain for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the flour, cumin, paprika and cayenne. In a second bowl, whisk the egg and water. In a third bowl, place the breadcrumbs.

Pat the eggplant slices dry. One at a time, dip each slice first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then the egg, letting the excess liquid drip off, then the breadcrumbs, knocking off the excess crumbs (they will clump).

In a large skillet over high, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the eggplant slices, reduce the heat to medium and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip the slices, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook until golden on the second side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the slices to a sheet pan. Bake on the oven’s middle shelf until the slices are tender (a knife will go through them easily), about 15 minutes.

While the eggplant is baking, grate the cucumber on the coarse side of a grater. In a small bowl, combine the grated cucumber with the yogurt, garlic and a bit of salt.

To serve, transfer the eggplant slices to a platter and top each with a generous spoonful of the yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with parsley.

Sara Moulton, AP



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