Oh, man, you are lucky there is even a photograph of these. I made them for lunch yesterday for The Husband and myself (he was lucky he was working from home, or he would have totally missed these), and they disappeared in a flash, no pun intended.
These are so easy, and so addictive. They take a bit of advance prep-time, but they are sooooo worth it. So here goes:
Eggplant Chips with Chile Peppers and Garlic Mayonnaise
Japanese eggplant, how many depends on how hungry you are, I used about 5-6
Hot chile peppers, again, depending on how hot you want to go, I used 6 total, 2 each jalapeno, habanero, and little hot red ones, I think are Thai peppers.
First, I trimmed, peeled, and sliced the eggplant in 1/8-inch rounds. Next, I tossed the slices with a tablespoon of kosher salt in a bowl, and left them alone for about 45 minutes. The salt draws out excess moisture, that would make them soggy when you fry them.
After draining them in a colander, I pressed them between paper towels to dry them, and remove as much moisture as I could. I did not rinse them; they need the salt to boost their flavor.
Next, I dredged the slices lightly in all-purpose flour, maybe about 1/2 cup. I set them aside in a bowl while I sliced up the chile peppers, dredged them in flour, and heated up the vegetable oil in a large skillet, about 1/4 inch deep. If you keep your sliced vegetables 1/8 inch thick, this is all the oil you need.
I tested the oil with one of the chile pepper slices; when the oil is bubbly around the slice, you know it’s hot enough.
Before I added the sliced vegetables to the oil, I dredged the eggplant in flour once more, because it had gotten a little pasty and moist on the outside. I fried the vegetables in batches, in a single layer, and scooped them out onto a rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet. They will turn very lightly golden, and be just crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. I ground a little sea salt over them all, and that’s it.
For the mayonnaise, I just finely minced a couple of garlic cloves, and mixed them with a couple tablespoons organic mayonnaise. I suppose I could have added a few drops of lemon juice, but I just wanted to eat these. Really badly.
The eggplant transforms into these light, airy, tender, crispy, totally munchable chips, and the chile peppers add some heat, flavor, and texture variety to them. The mayonnaise is cool and creamy, with just a hint of garlic, which works wonderfully with both the eggplant and peppers.
If you are not a chile pepper fan, have no fear. The first time I made these, I did without the chile peppers, and they were very tasty. That’s just the way I am, I have to see how far I can run with something, so I added the chile peppers this time.
I haven’t tried these with any eggplant other than Japanese (the long skinny ones, see a photo in the previous post). I think the small diameter of the slices is what makes it work, because they cook so quickly, and the Japanese eggplant seems to have less water in it than other varieties, which makes it great for frying.
So, while you still can, snag some Japanese eggplant, and chile peppers if you’re so inclined, and whip up a crazy-good snack this weekend. I know you’ll love these. I’ll see you soon on down the Road.