Eggplant Fritters

I promised to let you know how I used my excess muhammara from the September Daring Bakers challenge. Because of its Middle Eastern flavors, I decided to do an entire meal in that vein, using up both my leftover dip and an intimidating ingredient I bought on the spur of the moment: eggplant. I’m actually not sure I had ever eaten eggplant before, but it falls into that suspicious fruit-as-vegetable category that I tend to avoid like the plague, largely because of the mush factor. When faced with a scary vegetable, I find that frying it is often a good first approach, both because it imparts crunch and because—be honest—practically everything tastes better fried. So I decided to try making eggplant fritters for my introduction to the vegetable.

I have to admit, eggplant is a lovely piece of produce to look at, with that graceful shape, colorful skin and firm white flecked interior.

Doesn’t look nearly as appealing after being peeled, diced and boiled, though. Next time I’m going to try roasting in the skin.

The fritter batter looks even less appetizing, like dog food. I took a leap of faith and fried it up anyway, instead of giving Freyja an extra meal.

I served the fritters with muhammara and chicken skewers seasoned with the same Moroccan spice blend I mixed up for the roasted chickpeas, a failsafe measure in case I disliked the fritters (and Adagio‘s Moroccan mint tea, Casablanca Twist). They turned out to be alright, though: they looked like edible food, and didn’t taste like anything in particular. I guess that’s what the muhammara was for, though, and I admit to going easy on the spices. The batter was very soft and didn’t hold together well, leading to mushy and misshapen fritters, but that may have been because I got distracted by the baby and forgot to add the eggs and flour at the end. Whoops. Binding agents would have been helpful, I must say. So I should probably give these another chance, and then maybe even move on to something that doesn’t entirely mask the eggplant’s flavor. Baby steps, right?

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