Fried Eggplant Sandwich


Not too long ago I ordered an eggplant sandwich at a restaurant (well really a brewpub) and really liked it. So when we walked into the grocery store last night and saw that eggplant was on sale, we decided we would make our own. Usually when I try a new food or recipe, I do some extensive research, but this was really just flying by the seat of my pants, guessing what I thought I would need and what would taste good. It was more fun to experiment than follow a recipe, and I think the results were fantastic.

1 eggplant
4 hoagie-style buns
2 cups flour
1 cup Egg Substitute
1 bag of pre-mixed breading
1 tomato
1 cup lettuce
½ onion
Parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil
Condiments of your choice

I couldn’t resist. When I got home with my ingredients, I had to do some online recipe searching on exactly how to cook eggplant but I purposely didn’t want to follow one. I read a little on the basics and learned that I should peel the eggplant and then put it in a colander and let water run over the eggplant for a while. Eggplant isn’t easy to peel and it seemed to brown quickly, but in the end, I think it made it cook more consistently and we avoided that chewy skin.
Then I sliced the eggplant length-wise into half-inch strips. I wanted the slices to be thick so that there was substance to my sandwich. I also thought that thinner strips might fry too quickly.
I poured the oil about half-inch to three quarters an inch deep in a frying pan and turned the burner to medium-high heat.
After the eggplant was thoroughly rinsed, I sprinkled some salt on it used a lot of paper towels to dry off the egg plant.

When it was as dry as it could be, I dipped it into the flour and dusted off any excess. Then I dipped the eggplant into egg substitute. I like to use the egg substitute to save fat grams and calories and I think it works just as well as regular egg. When the eggplant slice was covered in a thin layer of egg substitute, I dipped it in the breading. I used a fried chicken mixture with some added salt, pepper and garlic, but I think breadcrumbs would be good too.

I repeated the breading steps for the other slices then carefully placed the eggplant slice in the pre-heated oil. I let the slices fry for about three minutes, flipped it and then let it fry for another three minutes until both sides were golden brown and the middle of the eggplant was soft when I touched with the the tongs.
When I removed the eggplant from the fryer, I let it dry on some paper towels while I prepped the sandwiches. I toasted the hoagie buns in the oven for a few minutes while I sliced the onion, tomato and lettuce.

I put together the sandwich, placing the eggplant, dressings and a sprinkle of cheese on the bun. I added Italian dressing and some spicy mustard to add some spice and it was perfect! Corey added Thousand Island dressing and that was good too.

On the first bite I was taken by the meatiness of the eggplant and the crunch of the breading. I would highly recommend frying eggplant to any skeptics. It had all the substance of a burger, but not all the fat. It doesn’t taste like a vegetable, and it was a quick and pretty simple process (though not a very clean process.) Go ahead and fry your vegetables!

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