This is a relatively easy recipe, but something unique for using those home-grown eggplants. If you're short on time, you can use a store-bought tempura mix for easy prep in place of the recipe below. When testing this recipe, we also battered and fried a few basil leaves and flowers to serve with the eggplant — and let's just say, that may have been our favorite part.
Yield: 4 servings
- 2-3 large eggplants
- ½ cup rice flour
- ½ all-purpose flour
- 6 oz seltzer water, cold
- 1 egg, beaten and cold
- Fresh basil and/or basil flowers
- Heat a quart of oil to 375℉ in a cast iron skillet or pot.
- Peel the eggplant (if desired) and cut into ½-inch slices. Sprinkle a little salt on each slice and let them stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse and drain, then wipe dry with paper towel, removing all excess moisture.
- Mix together rice and flour in a medium-sized bowl. When the oil reaches 360℉, whisk the seltzer water and egg together, then combine with the flour. (Don't worry if a few lumps remain in the batter.) A key to a good tempura is keeping the batter cold, so place the tempura batter on an ice pack or inside a larger bowl filled with ice.
- Dip the slices of eggplant into the batter, shake off the excess, then carefully drop them into the oil (chop sticks work well for this). Cook for 2 minutes or until light golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain.
- Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Featured Ingredient: Japanese Eggplant
Eggplant's versatility in the kitchen makes it an excellent ingredient on which to build many delicious dishes. Japanese eggplant long and slender, with a thin skin that's easily edible when cooked. With a mild flavor, it's excellent grilled with spices, roasted with other summer vegetables, or added to hummus (a great calorie-cutting trick). Pureed eggplant can also be added to sauces, creating a delectable creaminess without adding dairy. It's mild enough to serve a supporting role in a dish, but unique enough to stand on its own. You won't regret adding this gem to your garden! Here's what you need to know about growing eggplant.