Fried Parmesan Eggplant Sticks with Garlic and Cilantro Sauce
- 1 eggplant, aproximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Garlic and Cilantro Sauce:
- 2 bunches fresh cilantro, stems removed
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 cups olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- 3 tablespoons shaved chives
For purging the eggplant: Cut off the spiky top and peel the eggplant. Cut lengthwise into slices about 3/8-inch thick. Spread the pieces of eggplant in a colander and sprinkle evenly with salt. This will draw out the juices and help firm up the texture of the eggplant. Allow to stand for 30 minutes. Pat dry to remove any excess salt.
For the sauce: In a food processor, combine the garlic and cilantro and pulse to a smooth consistency. Add the lemon juice and mustard. In a steady stream, pour in the olive oil until the sauce is emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
For the eggplant: Cut the slices in half and into 1 inch thick sticks. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese together and season with salt and pepper. Pour enough oil into a frying pan to come 1 1/2 inches up the sides and turn the heat on. Dip each stick into the beaten egg, letting the excess drip off. Turn the eggplant into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides. Add as many of the sticks into the pan as will fit loosely without overcrowding. Fry on one side until golden brown. Turn the sticks over and continue frying until done. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and dry on a paper lined platter. Season with Essence.
Place the sauce in a small bowl in the center of a platter with the sticks surrounding it and sprinkle with grated Parmesan Cheese and shaved chives.