Psst, wanna know a secret? It’s easier to make fries out of eggplant than it is to make fries out of potatoes.
We know! It’s a twist we didn’t see coming either. Both humble nightshades make championship fries, but eggplant softens quickly in the oven compared to potatoes and it triumphs in taking on the breading. And what a breading it is! We make it with Italian-style bread crumbs and rich, salty Parmesan cheese, and it bakes up light, crispy, and golden brown. The eggplant itself is really soft and moist and it's got a thick, creamy texture, so the contrast with the breaded exterior is quite satisfying — think cheesy-breadstick exterior with a sophisticated-vegetable center.
Once the fries are toasty and golden brown, we let them cool as long as we can possibly wait (5 minutes max), then we dust them with chopped parsley and serve them with a warm dish of Gelson’s marinara sauce. You can take the potatoes out of the fries, but you can never take the fries away from a classic red dipping sauce.
Preheat the oven to 450º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top. Spray the rack with oil.
In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant fries with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Place the fries on the wire rack and let sweat for 20 minutes.
In a shallow dish, stir together the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt. In a second shallow dish, beat the eggs. In a third shallow dish, stir together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels and return it to the medium bowl. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, the black pepper, and olive oil. Toss to coat.
Working in batches, place the eggplant fries in the flour, making sure to coat all sides and shaking off any excess. Repeat this process to coat the fries in the beaten eggs, then the bread crumbs. Transfer the fries to the wire rack.
Spray the fries with more oil. Bake the fries, flipping halfway through, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes, garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve hot with the marinara.