I really enjoy eggplant –just about any way I’ve tasted it. I bought an eggplant and wanted to think of an easy snack I could make with the eggplant. I thought to mysef, "Other than a dip, what different dish can I make with eggplant –either as a appetizer or side dish -and one that is not fried?" This is what I came up with: Eggplant Tenders. It is easy, crunchy and will be gone before you know it. Serve alone or with marinara sauce.
This is a great appetizer or side dish. The eggplant is very crispy –all who have had it can’t believe how good it is with or without marinara sauce.
Place eggplant pieces in a large bowl; cover the eggplant pieces with salted water (1/4 cup Kosher salt** added to the water). If eggplant rises out of the water, weight it down with a plate or something to keep it submerged.
Let the eggplant sit in the salt water for 45 minutes to an hour, while you do other things (Can sit in Kosher salt water overnight, if desired.). Please Note: Prep time stated does not include salt soaking time.
In a quart-sized plastic bag (or on a plate), put in the flour and pepper; in another bag (or on a plate) combine the Panko crumbs, Italian bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese); then in a wide mouth bowl beat the eggs. Set all aside until the eggplant is ready to be removed from the salt water.
Remove eggplant pieces from the salted water and set eggplant pieces on paper towels to drain –pat dry.
Put the eggplant in the plastic bag containing the flour and pepper (several pieces at a time) and shake to coat with the flour.
Remove eggplant from the bag and shake the pieces to remove excess flour.
Dip the eggplant into the beaten eggs, coating both sides; let excess egg drip back into the bowl.
Then, place the eggplant pieces into the Panko and Italian bread crumbs and the cheese mixture. Coat each piece, making sure each piece of eggplant has the mixture on both sides.
After all the eggplant is coated, place on a hot cookie sheet or other flat pan that has been coated with a little oil.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes (turning once). Insert tip of sharp knife into a piece to test for doneness. If knife does not go in easily, return to the oven and cook about 3-4 minutes more.
To serve, arrange on a serving platter and eat as is or use a Marinara sauce as a dip. Yummy snack!!! Enjoy.
**I slice the eggplant in half lengthwise; then slice each half in half again and cut into 2 inch pieces.
Note: If you have leftover tenders, you can use them to have Eggplant Parmesan the next day for lunch. Just wrap the leftover Eggplant Tenders in foil, and refrigerate.
The next day (or later), place the tenders over cooked spaghetti noodles, and top with warmed tenders and spoon marinara sauce over all. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yum!!