Eating vegetables is an insufferable affair for some folks. They do it because it’s good for the body, not because it brings much pleasure. Yet, getting a fill of veggies doesn’t have to mean a boring bowl of rabbit vittles.
Mangini’s recipe for baked eggplant fries is a fine example of her reverence for vegetables, and one in which the finished dish seems like it should come with a heavy serving of remorse. Nope. These (peel-on!) fries are good for you, and tasty, too. That my husband mistook these for meat sticks (although I don’t know what those would be, apart from beef jerky) is a good sign for the carnivorous crowd.
My favorite rendition of this recipe takes a wholly Italian turn. It axes za’atar and uses Italian-style breadcrumbs, not plain. It also includes a few sprinkles of fresh Parmesan to garnish, along with the prescribed parsley.
Mangini offers an accompanying recipe for tomato-basil ketchup for dipping. I don’t have time to make from-scratch ketchup. I do have five seconds to squeeze a lot of Heinz into a ramekin, add a few splashes of quality balsamic and stir.
Baked Eggplant Fries
Give your eggplant some butcher treatment. Cookbook author Cara Mangini breaks down how to cut a globe eggplant destined for fries: Cut the stem and base off the eggplant, then halve it crosswise, separating the round, broader end from the more narrow stem end. Place the eggplant (or a piece of eggplant) on its widest cut end and cut downward into slabs.
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