I was extremely tempted to bring you the second installment of the Starbucks chronicles today (which involve a guy in a Maserati AND a formal wear salesman)... But instead, I opted for just sticking to talking about today's recipe. Far less entertaining, I know, but waaaaaay more useful. No to mention, food is really what we're here for, isn't it??
Ok, let's get to it then.
Let's talk fries. Yummy, crunchy, salty, addicting fries. I don't think I've ever met a single person in this planet who doesn't
like love them (if you have, mazal tov! You probably had your first alien encounter). Soooo good... yet not so good for you. And not because they're bad per se (meaning when properly cooked), but how many people actually make french fries at home, from scratch, the "proper" way? Most of the time, we eat them out, where they're drenched in heaven-knows-how-old oil. Still taste delicious, but will leave your body wondering what the heck you were thinking.
Not these fries though.
These eggplant fries will make your mind and body super dooper happy. First, because you're sneaking in veggies in your meal. The eggplant becomes nice and almost creamy soft, which kinda sorta mimics the texture of potatoes. Second, because you'll get the crunch from the panko, with a touch of saltiness and tang from the za'atar coating. And third, because they're baked, so no greasy mess to deal with.
You can dip them in your favorite sauce, but we LOVE the tahini here, because it just goes perfectly with the za'atar and gives that extra punch of flavor.
Best of all, super easy to make.
- 1 large eggplant, cut into ¾ inch thick sticks
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour or all purpose flour
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten (SEE NOTE)
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3 tbsp za'atar
- 1 tsp salt
- cooking spray
- For the Tahini Sauce:
- ⅔ cup Tahini (sesame paste)
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup of water
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley (you can also use any other herb, like cilantro o basil)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- Prepare 3 medium size bowls: place flour in one of them (season to taste with salt and pepper), beaten eggs in another one and in the third, place panko with za'atar and salt
- Dip eggplant sticks one at a time in flour, then egg and finally coat with panko. Place on lined baking sheet
- Generously spray each piece with cooking spray
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn them over and spray again with cooking spray. Bake for another 15 minutes
- In the meantime, prepare the tahini sauce: in a small bowl, combine tahini paste, salt and lemon juice and whisk until it thickens. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until well incorporated. For thinner sauce, add more water (note: sauce will thicken slightly when refrigerated). Add chopped parsley and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve eggplant fries hot fresh out of the oven with tahini sauce
For a vegan option, substitute eggs for a cup of unsweetened non dairy milk or canned coconut milk