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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2 thoughts on “Eggplant Fritters

  1. Sahron
    August 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    My journey with the eggplant was similar to yours. This past weekend I was drawn to it’s intoxicating color at my favorlte local curb market and decided this may be a good time to try, plus the price was right. Like you, this was one of the vegetables on my must try list along with cooking cauliflower (unfortunately beets will not make my list – bad experience as a child at school). I asked around the market and the response was fry like green tomatoes or eggplant parmesan, neither which I preferred.

    Another gentleman was buying and I asked how he cooked. He shared his mom’s recipe for eggplant fritters along with his fond childhoood memories of waiting for them hot off the griddle.

    I took this recipe and battered them up much like you did (but,I noticed you kept the seeds in, I’m curious how that worked out). I meticulously cut off the meat minus seeds (somewhat trying). I even tried to cut down on the browning by squezzing lemon juice in a bowl with water as I cut it up.

    I was cautious with my seasoning this first time so I would not mask the flavor. And they cooked nicely in olive oil. I will try again, adding more flavor. My mom said it taste similar to her flat water cornbread which it did. But, I like to think my eggplant fritters were more nutritious. They were not super greasy.

    So thanks for your insight,

    Sharon

  2. August 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Sharon, I didn’t notice the seeds in the finished fritters. They aren’t hard or gritty, just bitter, so I guess you can use your best judgment as to whether or not to bother removing them. I’m glad you were satisfied with your finished result! I keep looking around for eggplants at the farmer’s market to try again, but they haven’t been showing up here yet… should be soon, though!

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